Goldman Sachs underlings have been complaining about their grueling work-from-home routines for longer than previously known — since the start of the pandemic, in fact.
Last spring — almost a year before a group of first-year analysts created last month’s viral PowerPoint presentation, begging to work 80 hours a week instead of more than 100 — a coterie of Goldman rookies put together a similar deck, just weeks after the start of the COVID-19 crisis.
While February’s slide show cited the deteriorating physical and mental health of first-year analysts as they grappled with “inhuman” working conditions, the newly leaked presentation from last April focuses on the basics — computers and food.
“I find myself looking for time to prepare food, which usually entails late-night sandwiches or scrambled eggs given I work throughout the day,” one underling wrote. “Management should extend the expensing dinner policy as it decreases the stress of worrying about food preparation while working to meet deadlines.”
Specifically, entry-level bankers said they missed the $25 stipend they got for meals when forced to work after 8 pm at Goldman’s posh headquarters in lower Manhattan at 200 West St.
“All analysts reported working past 8 pm for five or more days of the seven-day week,” the presentation lamented in a series of bullet points. “The median analyst also worked past 12 pm for five days of the week.”
While some employees clamored for daily meal reimbursements, others lobbied for a weekly stipend to cover deliveries of groceries or frozen food, citing a different set of concerns.
“Coronavirus can be spread through poor kitchen hygiene and I wouldn’t order that from restaurants even if covered,” the employee wrote.
Elsewhere, underlings complained that they weren’t getting compensated for the laptops, monitors and mice they were forced to buy to start doing their jobs at home. According to the deck, which was first obtained by Business Insider (paywall), analysts on average were shelling out $1,000 for tech equipment — an expense for which rival firms were offering employees reimbursements.
“One of the largest challenges is the lack of proper office environment (high quality monitor, keyboard, phone, reliable internet, etc),’ one analyst said. “In order to overcome this, I have invested in equipment to continue to deliver the same throughput and quality as in the office.”
According to the presentation, the food-and-computer costs were a painful bite for the finances of first-year bankers, who make roughly $85,000 out of college, not including their bonus, which pumps up their annual salary to $140,000 a year.
“According to our analysis, the cost of WFH equipment amounted to about 35 percent of the median analyst’s remaining cash after non-discretionary spending leaving him with $600 at the end of the month (not including travel, credit card/ student loan repayment, etc),” the presentation said.
The presentation reached higher-ups at Goldman, including Will Bousquette, the chief operating officer of the bank’s global markets division, according to BI. Bousquette spoke to junior bankers directly, and sources said execs at the firm vetted their complaints. Nothing was done, however, according to the report.
A rep for Goldman Sachs declined to comment on the contents of the deck or on why the bank hasn’t taken action.
“We are pleased to have built a culture where employees regularly go to management and share their ideas and concerns,” said Goldman’s head of corporate communications, Nicole Sharp.
“We had in-depth discussions with teams across the firm on this, and other measures, as we moved to working from home last year,’ Sharp added. “We continue to have an active dialogue with employees on what steps we can take to address specific concerns and requests during this complicated and unusual time.”
A media frenzy over the February slide show spurred Goldman Chief Executive David Solomon to leave a voice memo to staffers on Sunday night, promising to “strengthen enforcement” of a rule against working on Saturdays.
Nevertheless, Solomon — who earlier this month was slammed with a report about his recent habit of taking the company’s private jet to the Bahamas on weekends — added that business was lately on the upswing, and that “If we all go an extra mile for our client, even when we feel that we’re reaching our limit, it can really make a difference in our performance.”