November 30, 2023

Investment Banking

Let Your Investment Banking Do The Walking

Here’s How Much Goldman Sachs and Other Big Banks Pay Per Hour

  • A survey of more than 2,500 investment banking analysts reveals how many hours they clock in a week.
  • The results suggest Goldman juniors are still pulling 98-hour work weeks, despite calls for change.
  • The survey also details which firms offer the best work experience, meal stipends, and more.

Goldman Sachs’ first-year investment bankers are still clocking 100-hour workweeks, despite plunging deal volumes and a 2021 junior-banker revolt that had CEO David Solomon vowing to staff up.  

A new survey of more than 2,500 first-year investment bankers shows that Goldman’s newest analyst class has members who are logging an average of 98 hours per week. That’s 18 hours more than the survey’s average of 80 hours per week, 12 hours more than the second-place runner up, and the same amount juniors were venting about in 2021 when an internal presentation to Goldman management was leaked to the press, creating a furor across Wall Street.

It means that Wall Street’s most successful bank in terms of M&A and IPOs pays its junior talent about the same as a Starbucks manager, or $22 an hour assuming two weeks vacation and not including bonuses, according to Insider’s calculations.  

A Goldman spokesperson said the “data does not match ours” after Insider detailed the survey’s findings about Goldman in an email. She declined to share the firm’s findings about junior banker working hours.

The revelation is the result of Odyssey Search Partners’ latest survey of up-and-coming bankers. The Wall Street recruiting firm, run by Anthony Keizner and Adam Kahn, conducts the survey each year to gain insight into the talent pool, which it then shares with private equity firms and other clients looking to recruit from banks. 

The recruiting firm this year polled about 2,500 first-year investment banking analysts at more than 50 firms in the US between September and November 2022, according to a copy of the survey obtained by Insider. It asked them about how much they are paid, what they like (and dislike) about their jobs, and what kind of perks they’re getting. 

The findings, of course, are not definitive as junior bankers within the same firm can have vastly different experiences depending on the team they join. But they offer a rare glimpse into the lives of Wall Street’s lowest rung — 22-year-olds who get to enjoy six-figure paychecks and the potential for even bigger earnings down the road if they can survive their first few years in a notoriously intense work environment.

This year’s results suggest that Goldman’s junior bankers work the longest hours compared to their bulge bracket peers, despite calls for change within the firm. But they also enjoy the most perks, from regular $30 meal stipends, to catered lunches, and casual Fridays. Goldman’s bankers are also less likely to go to  the office than might be expected given CEO Solomon’s calls for a return to five-day workweeks. And they were in the middle of the road when it came to job satisfaction, up from the 2021 survey.  

Insider pulled the most fascinating slides from this year’s survey, conducted over the fall months and during a tough time for investment banks, which have seen their deal flow plummet. They explain why grueling hours persist despite a lull in M&A and IPOs, what that means for the type of work analysts are doing, who is most satisfied with their compensation, and which firms are paying for meals everyday versus just on weekends.