Goldman Sachs’s London staff have been told that they can now have free sex-change surgery and fertility treatments in the latest step to encourage more women to stay with the firm.
The Wall Street bank, nicknamed the “great vampire squid” for its powerful grip on the world’s banking industry, told London staff last week that sex-reassignment surgery and IVF treatment had been added to its employee benefits plan.
The move, announced by chief executive Richard Gnodde in a staff town-hall meeting, comes as the bank fights to change its reputation as a conservative old boys’ club. It is understood that the new perks are aimed at helping “the whole issue of inclusiveness” in the London office.
The new perks come months after the banking giant became the first company in the UK to offer to ship working mothers’ breast milk home if they work overseas, while women now make a record 26 per cent of Goldman’s elite partnership class globally.
However, one insider revealed that while Goldman Sachs is being seen to be making an effort, “the bottom line is the bank is producing absolutely nothing tangible” — and the breast-milk benefit “was seen as a bit of a joke” on the shop floor. Another person praised the bank for trying to do “1,000 small things” to implement cultural change in the UK, where Goldman has around 6,000 staff.
The lack of women in top jobs means Goldman has a 72 per cent gap between what male and female staff earn in bonuses in Europe.
The bank offered sex-change surgery to US staff a decade ago. Lloyds Banking Group added gender reassignment surgery to its benefits package in 2016, and was believed to be the first UK company to do so. Silicon Valley -giants such as Netflix have also offered to pay for sex-change surgery.
Surgery can cost over £60,000, according to support group Trans Unite.