Goldman Sachs Group Inc. will allow senior staff to take an unlimited number of vacation days, the latest move by a Wall Street bank to retain talent in a heated job market.
Partners and managing directors at the New York investment bank can take time off when needed “without a fixed vacation day entitlement”, according to a company memo seen by Bloomberg. Junior employees still have limits on vacation but will be given at least two extra days off each year under the new policy that was introduced at the start of the month.
All Goldman employees will be required to take three weeks off each year starting in 2023, the memo said. That includes at least one week of consecutive time off.
The new vacation policy comes more than a year after junior analysts at the bank complained of 100-hour work weeks and declining physical and mental health in “inhumane” conditions. That reverberated across Wall Street with firms pledging to do more to improve the work-life balance of their staff.
The unlimited vacation policy may have limited impact in practice. A 2017 study by HR platform Namely found that employees at firms with open-ended holiday allowances typically ended up taking fewer days off a year than under traditional systems. And it applies only to the most senior ranks of the Wall Street firm, a workaholic cohort who are hardly likely to take much advantage.
Still, it’s an eye-catching move from a bank whose hard-charging culture has become part of Wall Street lore. It reflects how competitive the jobs market has become just as companies from Wall Street to Silicon Valley are seeking to roll back workplace policies implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Unlimited holiday allowance is a perk increasingly common at tech companies, including Netflix Inc. Finance firms - steeped in a culture of long hours - have been slower to adapt although UK broker FinnCap Group Plc said last year it was changing its vacation policy to offer employees unlimited paid breaks from 2022. The move was designed to help ease the strain on staff during an unprecedentedly busy time for capital markets.
Goldman’s boost to its vacation entitlements may help soften the blow from the removal of various pandemic-era benefits. Goldman last month ended free breakfast and lunches at the office - a perk to lure staff back to work. The bank has been one of the most aggressive among financial firms to push for a return to office.