Which banks are most reliant on their juniors to get stuff done? Which are the most effective practitioners of ‘juniorization’, or the reassignment of jobs previously done by expensive experienced bankers to less expensive inexperienced ones? On Wall Street at least, the answer appears to be Goldman Sachs, closely followed by Deutsche Bank and Barclays.
The chart below shows the distribution of staff by years of experience at banks’ main offices in NYC. Based upon our interrogation of the FINRA database, it suggests most banks are heavily skewed towards juniors, but that some are a lot more so than others. For example, at Goldman Sachs’ West Street office (and in all GS offices within a 5 mile radius of West Street), it looks like more than 50% of staff have less than six years in the industry; at UBS’s office on Avenue of the Americas the comparable figure is just 29%.
Conversely, the NYC head offices of UBS and Morgan Stanley are comparatively full of super-experienced bankers with decades of experience behind them. At Goldman Sachs, only 6% of staff in the environs of West Street have been in the industry for 20 years plus.
Of course, there may be mitigating factors: different banks house different functions in New York City. UBS’s trading floor, for example, was traditionally in Stamford Connecticut until the Swiss bank moved traders to NYC after the financial crisis – possibly shedding inexperienced people along the way. Goldman houses a lot of its U.S. federation (back office) staff in Salt Lake City.
Even so, FINRA’s figures provide a fair picture of the distribution of staff by seniority at some of the top banks on Wall Street. If you’ve been in the industry more than 15 years, they also suggest you might want to get out of Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Barclays, and try either Citi or UBS instead.