Goldman Sachs pushed staff back to the office. Now Wall Street bank is giving executives unlimited furlough

Goldman Sachs has become one of the strongest advocates of a post-pandemic return to the office this year, but the fight for talent could force the investment bank to buck the trend and offer employees more time away from work. their office instead.

In an internal memo seen by the Financial Times, the investment bank said it would offer junior staff a minimum of two additional days off each year. But senior executives will enjoy an even greater advantage, one more commonly associated with Silicon Valley than Wall Street.

From May 1, Goldman Sachs partners and managing directors can ‘take time off when needed without entitlement to a fixed vacation day’, the memo says, as the investment bank cautiously tracks tech companies like Netflix and Salesforce by offering staff unlimited time off.

Goldman Sachs declined to comment for this article. But forcing staff out of the office is quite a turnaround for the bank, which has desperately tried to bring its staff back to the office as pandemic restrictions eased in the United States.

In February last year, Goldman CEO David Solomon called remote working an “aberration”. A month later, Solomon told Fortune that “part of [Goldman Sachs’] secret sauce is that [younger staff] to meet, collaborate and work with people who are much more experienced than them”, adding that “for Goldman Sachs to maintain this cultural base, we must bring people together”.

Yet the bank has struggled to get its employees to conform to its “cultural foundation”. Only half of employees showed up on the first day Goldman reopened its New York headquarters on Feb. 1, after closing the office for a month due to an increase in COVID cases brought on by Omicron. And there are signs Goldman’s back-to-office mandate could affect the bank’s ability to retain talent.

Junior bankers have reportedly complained about the bank’s willingness to bring people back to their desks, and some have started interviewing for positions at tech companies that offer more flexibility, including Netflix, Google and Facebook. According to a Harris poll conducted for Fortune in February, about 50% of American workers would accept lower pay in exchange for an unlimited vacation policy.

Other Wall Street banks are also struggling to get their employees back into the office. In April, JPMorgan said it would allow half of its workforce to work in hybrid or fully remote environments, despite CEO Jamie Dimon’s earlier criticism of work-from-home arrangements.

However, experts warn that an unlimited paid time off policy could backfire if an office culture discourages taking vacations, as workers have no clear expectations of how much break time they actually get. .

Goldman Sachs seems to have taken this into account. According to the memo, the bank will require all staff to take at least three weeks of leave per year by 2023, including at least one leave of at least five consecutive days.

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