Career Advice Apr 03 2012

Goldman Tries More Vacation Time to Boost Morale While Laying Off

By julie steinberg

Goldman Sachs plans to announce two measures giving its junior employees in the investment bank more vacation time, according to people familiar with the matter.

Associates at the bank, the second rung up from analysts (the most junior level), will be granted a month off before starting jobs as vice presidents. They will also get a week of "protected' vacation when they don't have to be as responsive to email and phone calls. Investment banking employees traditionally tend to be always "on call," working just as hard while on vacation as when at work, a person familiar with the matter said.

Analysts already receive these perks. In Wall Street's hiring hierarchy, college graduates are often hired as analysts, then promoted in two or three years to associates if they make the grade. Typically, an associate will spend three years in the job before becoming a vice president.

It's unclear when the changes will be announced, but they are expected to be rolled out over time. One source familiar with the situation said they're being unveiled "to boost employee morale."

Goldman, like other banks since the financial crisis, has had to cut jobs and pay and has had its culture criticized. Last week, the firm cut around 200 people in finance, technology, operations, services and other non-revenue generating roles, according to people familiar with the matter. The layoffs were part of Goldman's yearly culling of the bottom performers at the firm.

Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

The bank put aside $12.2 billion for compensation and benefits for 2011, down 21% from the $15.4 billion a year earlier.

Greg Smith, a former Goldman Sachs employee who aired his grievances in an op-ed in The New York Times earlier this month, recently scored a $1.5 million book contract with Hachette's Grand Central Publishing to tell his story. In his op-ed, Smith called Goldman's culture "toxic and destructive," an assertion Goldman disputed in an open letter to employees.

Write to Julie Steinberg at julie.steinberg@dowjones.com




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