Staff who have just begun their careers at investment bank Goldman Sachs report working over 95 hours on a weekly basis and sleeping only five hours a night.

First-year analysts at Goldman Sachs have complained of the “abusive” and “inhumane” work culture which has seen their mental and physical health rapidly deteriorate.

According to an internal survey which was carried out amongst the Investment Banking Division, first year analysts at the firm stated that, during that week, they had worked an average of 105 hours. In addition, the respondents reported working 98 hours a week on average throughout January 2021.

This has led to employees failing to get the recommended amount of sleep, with workers confessing they only get five hours of sleep and their average bedtime is 3am.

Due to this, the survey shows a significant plummet when it came to the mental and physical health of staff. Whilst workers were likely to rate their mental health 8.8 out of 10 prior to beginning the job, this has since fallen to only 2.8. Similarly, their physical health also saw a decline – falling from 9.0 initially to 2.3 currently.

All people (100 per cent) surveyed reported that their work hours negatively impacted relationships with friends and family. In addition, over three-quarters (77 per cent) felt as though they had been victims of workplace abuse. A further four-fifths (83 per cent) experienced excessive monitoring or micromanaging at work.

Most employees stated it was highly unlikely (3.5 on a scale of 10) that they would continue working for the company if the work conditions remained the same in six months time.

An employee quoted in the report stated that their “body physically hurts all the time” and is “mentally in a really dark place”. Another member of staff described the excessive working hours as “inhumane” and “abuse” due to the fact that they are only left with four hours a day to eat, sleep, shower and use the bathroom.

Responding to these claims, a spokesperson for Goldman Sachs said:

We recognise that our people are very busy, because business is strong and volumes are at historic levels.

A year into Covid, people are understandably quite stretched, and that’s why we are listening to their concerns and taking multiple steps to address them.

Jonathan Richards, CEO and Founder, Breathe, a cloud-based HR software company, comments:

In our research, we found that almost a third (27 per cent) of Brits quit their job in the past year due to toxic workplace culture. The effects of lockdowns and extended isolation will be felt for a long time, so it’s never been more important for businesses to invest in building a culture that can survive the separation and offer support where it is sorely needed.

Maintaining high productivity levels can only be possible if your people are looked after properly, otherwise this won’t be a sustainable outcome. We urgently need to see cultural changes happen to remedy this. Much more needs to be done in keeping people safe, mentally and physically, if at least from a work perspective.

The survey recommends that 80 hour week should be considered maximum capacity, client meetings requiring materials should be scheduled at least one week in advance, there should be no last-minute additions when it comes to client meetings and the Friday night 9pm policy and Saturday policy should be respected.

Goldman Sachs have now stated they will enforce a day off on Saturdays in addition to automating specific tasks for junior staff in order to alleviate their workload.

*The data linked to Goldman Sachs can be found in their ‘Working Conditions Survey Report’ which surveyed junior analysts within the Investment Banking Division in February 2021.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.