Junior Goldman Sachs analysts complain of working 98-hour weeks

Investment bank says it is 'taking multiple steps' to address concerns

FILE PHOTO: The Goldman Sachs company logo is seen in the company's space on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, (NYSE) in New York, U.S., April 17, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
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A boom in capital markets activity has seen companies rush to list their shares on stock markets, but it has created a heavy burden on the junior analysts at Goldman Sachs, who have requested that the investment bank caps their working week to an 80-hour maximum.

A slide deck created by overworked juniors in the style of one of the bank's presentations showed that first-year analysts had worked an average of 105 hours in the week ending February 13 and an average 98-hour week since the beginning of the year.

The 13 analysts, who provided anonymous responses to the survey, complained they were getting to bed at 3am and sleeping for an average of five hours a night.

“I didn’t come into this job expecting 9am-5pms, but I also didn’t expect consistent 9am-5ams either,” one of the analysts was quoted as saying.

“The sleep deprivation, the treatment by senior bankers, the mental and physical stress … I’ve been through foster care and this is arguably worse,” said another.

Companies are rushing to list their shares as stock markets continue to hit new heights, causing equity valuations to soar. Many businesses are using Special Purpose Acquisition Companies, also known as 'blank-cheque' companies or Spacs, because they are quicker and less restrictive than traditional IPO processes. The amount raised through Spacs so far this year has grown to $83.4 billion, higher than the $79.3bn raised throughout the whole of 2020, according to Refinitiv data.

Online brokerage eToro, Electric vehicle maker Lucid Motors, Singapore ride hailing company Grab and Middle Eastern music streaming site Anghami are among the companies to make use of Spacs in recent weeks. Some 275 Spac deals have already been done this year, compared to 256 throughout 2020.

The strains being placed on junior staff to deliver these, however, are considerable, according to the survey respondents. When asked how satisfied on a 10-point scale they were with Goldman Sachs, the respondents gave an average score of 2. In terms of personal life satisfaction, the number dropped to 1.

The document called for changes including a maximum 80-hour working week and the stricter enforcement of a policy that junior bankers finish work at 9pm on Friday and do not work on a Saturday.

The bank, which last year made a net profit of $9.46bn on revenue of $44.56bn, is understood to have reaffirmed its 'Saturday exception' policy and is in the process of hiring more junior bankers.

“We recognise that our people are very busy, because business is strong and volumes are at historic levels," a Goldman Sachs spokesman said. "A year into Covid, people are understandably quite stretched, and that’s why we are listening to their concerns and taking multiple steps to address them.”