New survey says Goldman Sachs junior bankers are “overworked” working 98 hours a week making the equivalent of about $22 an hour  

I came across a very interesting article that hit home for me. I’ve been around the block a few times and have had my fair share of hard work, but this gets interesting. Now to be clear, I cannot over-emphasize the importance of sacrifice and hard work which can be taken for granted nowadays (Everyone is trying to be Insta-Rich if that’s a word) but, in my personal experience, hard work on its own does not guarantee success. Rather the investment of your time + the correct environment/opportunity should put you on the right path. Look, I feel for these bankers and appreciate their sacrifice, but I have a weird theory that we can get to later. 

Junior Bankers are suffering from burning out, almost 100-hour work weeks and demanding bosses according to a survey done by first year analysts. Meaning they are being paid around the same amount as a “Starbucks manager” before bonuses. This surge in activity has taken a serious toll on the mental and physical state since the beginning of last year, according to a slide released to social media and authenticated by people with knowledge of the matter.  

In 2021, Goldman’s junior bankers protested similarly long work hours, calling it “workplace abuse” 

One analyst stated, “My body physically hurts all the time and mentally I’m in a really dark place.” Another Goldman analyst stated, “The sleep deprivation, and the treatment by senior bankers, I’ve been through foster care, and this Is arguably worse.” 

While the end of the year bonuses can be a large chunk of wall street pay, they are slated to dwindle this year due to a decline in IPO’s and M&A. Bonus pools, which hit record levels last year, are on track to be cut by at least 30% at banks like JP Morgan and Citigroup. (Bloomberg Reported) 

To put this in perspective, an average of 98 hours a week, Goldman’s junior bankers are working on average 18 hours more than their fellow junior bankers who reported working an average of 80 hours a week. Junior bankers at a runner up to Goldman averaged about 86 hours per week. 

Junior bankers responded they were going to bed around 3 a.m. only getting 5 hours of sleep. All of them said work hours negatively affected their relationships, and almost 80% of respondents said they felt like a victim of workplace abuse. 

A Goldman Spokesperson told Insider at the time, “We recognize that our people are very busy, because business is strong, and volumes are at historic levels. A year into COVID, people are understandably stretched quite thin, and taking multiple steps to address them.” 

Ok, so here is my “not-so-weird-theory”, (corny) but bear with me. Let’s look at conventional wisdom here: You have highly driven individuals that know what they want, or kind of do for their careers and lifestyle and they are willing to put it on the line.  

Let’s first understand what it takes to be an investment banker on wall street and then answer the big question: Why isn’t this working?  

Here’s a short list according to an article in Investopedia: 

  1. Typical education is a Bachelor’s degree in finance or a finance-related field. Although, an MBA is recommended.
  2. Start your internship with a firm as you are completing your studies. 
  3. Start your career with a firm if you are lucky as a financial or business analyst.  
  4. After several years of work and experience, you can attempt to move to a junior-level banker position.  

         Now all of this is usually before you become a junior banker and put in the 90 hours a week. This is not to suggest that the banking business is done with and nobody will see or experience success. All we are seeing here is that the burnout rate does not seem to fall in line with the success rate.  

        Here is my two cents as to why conventional avenues to what someone may think will get them to the next step in their careers are no longer guaranteed. A few decades ago, we may have had the ability to study hard, get a decent education, land a dream job, become a company man/woman, have your white picket fence home, and live happily ever after. That does not seem to be the case anymore. According to CNBC Tuition fees have skyrocketed by more than 169% since 1980.  Salaries however have only increased by 19%. This is a serious imbalance that equates to a new workforce that is coming out with heavy student debt, heavy workloads and not enough income to justify the sacrifice. Not to mention at times unattainable goals or objectives.  

         So, what is the fix?  

         There are generally 3 ways to earn an income in the work force: 

        1. Work for an hourly wage 
        2. Work for a salary 
        3. Transactions 

             The old ways of financial gain and prosperity are becoming obsolete. And more people are pursuing entrepreneurship as the new way. Hourly and Salary wages are no longer accommodating the basic needs and necessities of life. This is where Transactions aka running your own business are empowering individual creativity, but also the lifestyle that people are pursuing.  

            During COVID 29% of people on average became entrepreneurs. Studies show, this change in occupation gives people more freedom to explore avenues that brought them joy such as hobbies, learning a new skill, or just having quality time . Finding your niche and mastering it is the key. The old traditional way of being financially stable is no longer serving the growth of our younger generations. Create or go for something that gives you an unlimited uncapped potential of growth and advancement.  

            According to Brownstein’s report, it doesn’t seem much has changed regarding work hours for the first years at Goldman.  

            Credit: Business Insider 






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