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This is why technologists don’t like working for Goldman Sachs

What's it like working in technology at Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs needs technologists. It’s targeting STEM students and boasts that technologists already account for 25% of its staff. It’s hiring 50 coders for its Marquee product and is preparing to staff-up at its technology operation in Poland’s Warsaw. In the ideal world, technologists would love working for Goldman Sachs and would spread the word about the interesting engineering jobs available there. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always seem to be the case. – While Goldman generally gets great reviews as an employer, many its technologists have taken to Glassdoor to gripe about their experiences of working for firm.

The complaints are various, but they come down to three things: that pay is poor relative to the hours; that technologists aren’t respected by the revenue earners in the “front office” who pile on the pressure, and that the technology Goldman uses is both old and ill-suited to the needs of ambitious young technologists who might want to work somewhere else in future.

None of these gripes are new. It might also be argued that none (save the last) is specific to GS: coders at J.P. Morgan and European banks have also voiced their displeasure. However, the number of Goldman technologists complaining and the similarities between their complaints are notable, suggesting the firm might want to take note.

“Pay is not proportional to no of hours you put in,” says one of Goldman’s Glassdoor detractors in New York. “-  I worked for many years before joining Goldman Sachs. There are many companies who will pay you [the] same or more amount of money for working significantly less no of hours a week on better tech/fin tech projects.” The same complainant says technologists who join Goldman should be prepared to, “work like a slave” and, “say goodbye to family life, exercise routines and hobbies.”.

In London, meanwhile, another technologist at Goldman in London complains that pay is not “the best,” while someone else (also in the London tech team) says too much time is spent talking about things on the phone and too little time is spent on actual development work. “They don’t seem to have any clear roadmap,” complains another London technologist. ” – Employees are overworked… the work is not that great though they showcase themselves as a tech company.” Another tech analyst in New York says that if you join you’ll, “spend a huge amount of time in meetings discussing small details and requirements,” and that tech at Goldman is, “almost exactly how you’d imagine a bank’s tech division: slow and outdated.”

Complaints that Goldman’s tech staff aren’t respected also abound. “Mid and senior managers in some teams are not respectful and have little patience to listen to developers to understand why things take time to complete,” says one a technologist. “I have seen managers insulting team members by shouting and creating a scene.”

All of this might be tolerable if time in Goldman’s tech team were a great preparation for a career elsewhere. But because Goldman uses its own “Slang” programming language, the technologists on Glassdoor complain they’re gaining skills that are only applicable in Goldman Sachs. “If you ever try to find a job after GS, nothing you learn at GS will be useful,” says one. “Proprietary technology – no reusable skills,” says another. “Most people have never worked anywhere else – not because they are so good, but rather they wouldn’t get a job anywhere else.”

Goldman Sachs didn’t respond to a request to comment for this article. It might well be argued that Glassdoor is a forum for disgruntled people and that complaints are therefore inevitable. It’s also worth pointing out that not all the Goldman tech reviews on Glassdoor are bad: there are also engineers who praise the firm for embracing open source technology and employing smart people. Still, the Goldman tech naysayers seem to exceed the Goldman tech celebrants, and this is a problem in a world where top engineering talent is scarce.


Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com

Photo credit: complain by Britta Frahm is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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