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Goldman snacks: bank sends hampers to staff amid 'inhumane' working hours

<span>Photograph: David Gray/Reuters</span>
Photograph: David Gray/Reuters

Bosses at Goldman Sachs have been sending sympathy snack boxes to overworked junior London bankers in response to complaints over “inhumane” 100-hour weeks that have affected their physical and mental health.

The one-off hampers, full of fruit and snacks, are understood to have been paid for by managing directors out of their own pockets, since Goldman has not offered any company-wide gifts or additional bonuses after a leaked report revealed concerns about poor working conditions earlier this month.

While some junior bankers said they appreciated the small gift, it pales in comparison with perks announced by rival lenders in the weeks following the Goldman leak.

Jefferies offered 1,124 of its lowest-ranking staff free workout equipment including Peloton bikes worth nearly £2,000, while investment bankers at Credit Suisse are getting a one-time $20,000 bonus for dealing with an “unprecedented” workload during the pandemic.

One staff member said Goldman should be doing more to recognise the gruelling demands placed on the lowest-ranking staff. “What we need is not a gesture from [managers], but from the firm,” said one London banker.

Last week Goldman’s chair and CEO, David Solomon, addressed a leaked presentation by 13 aggrieved first-year bankers who claimed that 100-hour working weeks and abuse from co-workers had created “inhumane” working conditions for new hires.

While the report originated in the US, recent testimony by UK staff suggests the issue is widespread and affecting staff overseas.

Each London team has roughly three to six people on sick leave for burnout at all times, according to one banker who spoke to the Guardian on condition of anonymity last week.

The complaints indicate that the bank’s staff are still subject to the kind of high-pressure culture that was exposed when a 22-year-old Goldman analyst took his own life in 2015 after complaining of toiling 100 hours a week and throughout the night.

It came two years after a 21-year-old Bank of America Merrill Lynch intern was found dead in a shower at his London flat. He had worked for 72 hours in a row and died of an epileptic seizure in 2013.

In a company-wide message sent to staff last week, Solomon said he took the recent complaints “very seriously.” He pledged that the bank would ramp up efforts to hire more junior bankers, transfer staff to stretched teams, and strengthen the enforcement of a no-work-on-Saturday rule.

Goldman declined to comment on the snack boxes.