It's not easy to get a job at Goldman Sachs. In the bank's annual shareholder letter, CEO Lloyd Blankfein regularly boasts about the hundreds of thousands of students who apply and the tiny minority who actually get accepted (the ratio was 130,000: 5,000 in 2016). But what if you don't have to try your luck on Goldman's graduate recruitment merry-go-round? What if you can start your career somewhere else and skip across to Goldman's sunlit uplands midway through?
This is looking like a possibility,
During yesterday's conference call, Goldman CFO Marty Chavez reiterated that Goldman has doubled its lateral hiring so far this year. Last month, Goldman CFO Harvey Schwartz said Goldman had doubled its external fixed income currencies and commodities (FICC) hires in 2017. It's not clear whether Chavez was referring to the same division, but it's clear is that if you want to work at Goldman Sachs you no longer need to get in at the bottom. You can now insert yourself half way up instead.
How far up? Executive director (the equivalent of director or senior vice president at other banks) looks like the sweet spot. In September and October 2017, Goldman has so far hired 16 executive directors globally according to LinkedIn. In the entirety of September and October 2016 the comparable figure for global ED hiring at GS was just five people. Executive directors typically have ten to 12 years' experience.
And if you miss the ED entry opportunity? You can always try getting into Goldman as a managing director (MD) instead. As we pointed out earlier this week, the pace of senior hiring at Goldman has been causing apprehension among the firm's MD hopefuls, who fear their chances of promotion have been blocked by all the big names parachuted in. These fears are not without reason: in September and October 2017 Goldman has so far hired-in seven managing directors. In September and October 2016 it hired in...two. Managing directors usually have fifteen years' experience.
Needless to say, the fact that Goldman has hired 23 MDs and EDs in the past two months doesn't imply that getting a job at the firm is now a cakewalk. Particularly compared to the thousands of people Goldman hires at the bottom. "We're still very selective," says one Goldman ED. "It's a lean ship here."
However, it does seem clear that Goldman Sachs is now in search of fresh, senior, blood. Schwartz said as much in September and Chavez confirmed this yesterday when he said that the firm is focused on bringing in "coverage and distribution" professionals, presumably as it seeks to increase its penetration of corporate clients. Even so, you don't have to be a corporate salesperson to jump in at the top of Goldman's hierarchy now: as the chart below shows, plenty of the recent hires have been in trading, technology, and support functions too. Most notably, Goldman recruited Robert Waugh, the former head of CloudWatch logs engineering at Amazon a few weeks ago.
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