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Would you move to Salt Lake City for a job at Goldman Sachs?

Although Goldman Sachs still pays extremely well, the New York bank aggressively ratcheted down compensation costs last year, allocating just 37% of revenue to cover employee salaries, bonuses and benefits. Overall pay was down 3% year-over-year, despite the fact that Goldman added 500 employees in 2013.

One of the key tools the bank has been using to decrease compensation costs (without everyone quitting) is by adding talent in low-cost sectors like Dallas and Salt Lake City, as well as overseas in Bangalore, India. Much of the more recent domestic growth has been taking place in Salt Lake City, now home to roughly 1,800 Goldmanites, with another 200 hires likely coming soon. Clearly, Utah works for some, but would it work for you? It all depends on your answers to these questions.

Are you OK being a big fish in a small pond?

It goes without saying that you’ll make significantly less working for Goldman in Salt Lake City than you would in New York. Roughly 30% less for an identical position, according to Reuters. But, as long as you aren’t summering in the West Village, you’re still coming out ahead due to the differences in cost of living.

Making $50,000 in Salt Lake City equates to making nearly $120,000 in Manhattan, according to CNN’s cost of living calculator. Utah is now the fifth most affordable state in the U.S. and offers the 10th lowest tax burden in the country.

Plus, your salary will likely dwarf that of your neighbor’s. The average annual salary in Utah is under $42,000.

Do you work in the back office? If not, are you OK going to lunch with them?

Goldman is quick to point out that Salt Lake City is home to nine of its 11 business units. But the two that aren’t there are the sexy high-paying jobs: trading and investment banking. Salt Lake employs hundreds in technology, compliance and operations, with others working in human resources and finance. However, higher-paying roles in wealth and asset management are also available.

Currently, there are 27 open jobs in technology on Goldman’s career page, along with 15 in operations, 12 in finance and four in compliance. There aren’t any in wealth and asset management, but usually those types of roles are filled through analyst programs or are un-posted.

How important is job security?

Goldman has made a pledge to continue pushing jobs to low-cost areas. Logic will dictate then that you are less likely to be a casualty as a lower-paid staffer in Salt Lake than you would as a more costly employee in New York or London.

Do you like being outside more than inside?

New York and London have culture: plays, museums, sporting events and thousands of amazing restaurants. Utah, on the other hand, specializes in outdoor activities. It’s home to five national parks – the most of any U.S. state – and there are 11 ski resorts within an hour of the airport. If you like hiking, skiing, mountain biking and rafting, you won’t find a much better locale.

How important is a nightlife?

However, if a thriving nightlife is a priority, you may want to look elsewhere. Utah has the most stringent alcohol laws in the country, with the state having a monopoly over wholesaling booze. Most stores sell beer with minimal alcohol content and no bar stays open past 1 a.m. Before last year, you weren’t even allowed to order alcohol at a restaurant unless you were ordering food.

And if you’re single, your options may be limited. While Utah is the youngest state in the country, with an average age of 29, it has the highest percentage of married couples and family households in the U.S.

Are you OK with more of a startup feel?

You are working at Goldman Sachs, so it is far from a startup, but the firm says that the office culture in Salt Lake City is different. Younger workers in Utah tend to have more responsibility and greater exposure to all the firm’s businesses, at least according to Goldman.

Comments (17)

  1. I would be really interested in working for Goldman Sachs in Salt Lake City

    Isidoro Petrarulo Reply
  2. I grew-up in Salt Lake City in the 1960s and 70s before escaping to NYC in 1981 for college. My parents still live there, so I tend to visit about 2 – 3 times per year. Salt Lake has changed a lot since the 1970s, and the rate of change was visibly accelerated by the 2002 Olympics. However, anyone coming from anywhere in the US except for the depths of the Bible Belt will experience some degree of culture shock. If you love skiing, backpacking, fishing, hunting, etc., you may enjoy living in SLC; but, if you’re not Mormon, you will always feel like a stranger in a strange land, even today, when you look around and realize the Mormon church patriarchy (they use that word themselves) still controls politics, media, and regulation of almost all aspects of daily living. Utah outside of Salt Lake, even in the secondary cities of Provo and Ogden, still feels like an authoritarian “Father Knows Best” episode of The Brady Bunch. This town, and state, is NOT for everyone. Good luck “transitioning” back to the rest of the world after you’ve joined a “low cost, high skills” location for Goldman or any of the other financial institutions setting-up mostly back-office functions in Salt Lake and its suburbs…

  3. I came from the west to the east for the mental stimulation of attending think tank meetings and networking with other smart people that are likewise self selected “best of the best.”. That would be entirely lacking in Salt Lake. No thanks.

  4. Stupid question. I would work for Goldman Sachs anywhere in the world, but there would have to be a job there that I’m qualified to do.

  5. Not a chance. Living under the thumb of the LDS church is unthinkable. They have a reality distortion capability that is both comical and frightening. No thanks.

  6. We lived in SLC for 9 months on a short assignment, It was a nice place to be…wonderful weather except for July when it gets ridiculously hot. SLC may not be as bohemian as SFO or as chilled out as NYC but it does have its charm, It’s not too expensive to live there, The Mormons are a bit uptight like the Germans at the first glance but once you get to know them, They are like anybody else you would meet in the east coast or the West coast. BTW we are from India and have extensively lived in the east coast and the west.

  7. I could do it for a few years as long as there was an end in sight. Goldman Sachs is an incredible company to have the opportunity to work for, anywhere.

  8. The offer Goldman made me for a new-grad Ops position in SLC is redolent of this entire article… $7,000 to relocate and only $45,000 for salary. I love the outdoors, but… to offer this type of package to an engineering grad is kind of embarassing. Northern CA is just as awesome, without the downsides :).

    For business school grads facing sales-position-only offers… the low cost of living and company exposure might make it worth it. You could literally buy a house in SLC on that salary. Of course, there’s a 80% chance your nextdoor neighbors are going to be bat-sh*t crazy…

  9. Yes I would like to relocate to Salt Lake City to have the opportunity to work for Goldman Sachs in the IT field as a Network Administrator or something in the area of project management. Let me know of any open position/opportunity in that area asap. Thanks and have a good day.

    Leonard Wey

  10. According to the latest Forbes magazine article about Goldman Sachs, compensation averaged $380,000 companywide over the past 12 months. If $50,000 in SLC equates to $120,000 in Manhatten, then average compensation in SLC should be $159,600 (42% lower than Manhatten). If this variance holds, why does the author of this article keep talking about compensation in the $45k-$50k range?

  11. This article is only half true about the roles in the SLC office. S&T’s counterparty analysts are in SLC.

  12. Goldman Sachs seem to think they can under cut their IT staff ( I was recruited for a Network Engineer position in Salt Lake City) the rate was 20.00 per hour.. Even in Utah I command on average 80k per annum. If you note they are always seeking IT staff in their Salt Lake City office. I have been contacted numerous times. Ever since they took the Federal bailout money they have a mentality that executives can make phenomenal salaries off the backs of slave wages to run the place. They ran it into the ground before, lets how they operate with a high attrition rate. I wouldn’t work for them even with a decent salary due to the fact they had to accept bailout money the government should have never provided. They should just go back to NYC see about another bailout. Their not doing so well here. We aren’t as dumb in the West as they have hoped.

  13. Ya you can still buy a half way decent house for 300K in Salt Lake City. 45000.00 for any professional in any State shows the mentality of the company. I won’t work for Goldman Sachs anywhere at anytime in anyplace. They obviously only care about the CEO level and drove the company into the ground in NYC and begged the government for a bailout. No shame.

  14. I can tell you. They are having a hard time keeping staff because they don’t pay. Salt Lake city as the rest of the West has experienced many competitive companies settling in the area. And paying good salaries. Especially in the IT realm. I have a CS degree and 18 years as a Network Engineer and they keep having their Bangalore recruiters hit me up and offer me 20.00 per hour. Even though I have told them numerous times I would not ever work for Goldman Sachs. Seems like they may be needing more bailout funds. Maybe they should move operations to India as like American Express they have depleted their visa allotments to bring Indians here. Or idea is slash CEO salaries and try Reaganomics and apply the trickle down theory. Either way, not a place I will ever work.

  15. SLC is not a welcoming place. If you are single, stay away. If you don’t care about the outdoors, stay away. If you want to make progress in your career, stay away.

    I lived there, I was single at the time, young, decently looking, and making almost 200K a year. Had the worst time in years. Good luck if you still decide to move there.

    depressedinslc Reply
  16. what would be the locations with the least competition/least applications?
    and with all that said living there for a year for such an institution for a recent grad would you recommend it?

  17. with all that said living there for a year for such an institution for a recent grad would you recommend it? and would anyone happen to know which locations might get the least applications/competition?

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