Goldman Sachs junior bankers complain of crushing workload amid SPAC-fueled boom in Wall Street deals

A pedestrian passes in front of 200 West Street, which is the headquarters of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in New York.

Scott Eells | Bloomberg | Getty Images

According to an internal survey by a group of first-year analysts, junior investment bankers at Goldman Sachs suffer from burnout from 100-hour workweek and challenge bosses on deals during a SPAC boom.

The surge in activity has had a significant impact on the mental and physical health of analysts for at least the beginning of the year. This is evident from slides posted on social media and authenticated by people with knowledge of the matter.

“The sleep deprivation, the treatment from senior bankers, the mental and physical stress … I’ve been through foster care and that’s arguably worse,” said a Goldman analyst, according to the February survey of 13 employees.

“My body is physically aching all the time and I’m in a really dark place mentally,” said another analyst.

The slideshow, filled with color-coded charts and formatted in the official style of an investment banking pitchbook, was created after a group of disgruntled multi-team analysts got together to survey their peers. First year analysts are typically young college graduates and are the lowest level in the Wall Street hierarchy. Above them are employees, followed by vice presidents and managing directors.

Goldman Sacks are good for both physical and mental health.

Source: Litquidiity | Instagram

The Wall Street model envisions hiring thousands of newcomers each year, often college graduates, to create a pipeline of talent and workforce dedicated to the more mundane aspects of investment banking. Junior bankers trade a strenuous workload for pay that is higher than the average American salary and try to earn multi-million dollar compensation packages as managing directors.

Wall Street working conditions became a hot topic in 2013 after a Bank of America intern in London died after a period of sleepless nights. The industry then began introducing sheltered weekends where junior employees could not work on a Saturday or Sunday without the manager’s approval.

Despite the changes, the tough culture of the industry persists. Goldman respondents called the conditions “inhuman” and said 110 hours a week often only leaves four hours a day for sleep and self-care

While the survey was conducted by a small sample of Goldman employees, the bank took their concerns seriously, people said. Goldman executives met with employees last month and told them they were promoting the hiring of junior bankers to help manage the workload. The bank has also moved staff to strengthen busier teams and has worked to automate aspects of their work.

The 13 employees were not fined for creating the survey, part of which was posted on the Litquidity Instagram account this week.

“We know our people are very busy because the business is strong and the volume is at historic levels,” said Nicole Sharp, a Goldman spokeswoman. “A year after COVID, people are understandably stretched pretty thin, so we’re listening to their concerns and taking several steps to address them.”

Shortly after a record year on Wall Street, the IPO market is on fire, driven by the insatiable demand for new companies. That demand is being met by SPACs, or blank check companies, that have gone public, and SPAC mergers of $ 164 billion this year have already exceeded the 2020 figure, according to Dealogic.

Backlog reached a record level in the first quarter, Goldman CFO Stephen Scherr told a conference last week. Goldman is the world’s leading merger advisor, ousting JPMorgan Chase in terms of total transaction volume and number of transactions.

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