Goldman Sachs has had so much business and is doing so well in the pandemic that at least for some junior investment analysts it allegedly means working 100 hour weeks, leaving very little time to sleep, eat and wash. Some might have little sympathy for junior analysts on first year salaries and bonuses averaging $123,500 but that would be ignoring the resulting unbearable physical and mental stress.

Goldman Sachs and other companies with employees under extreme pressure may not be fully aware of the conditions for at least some of their workforce. It is, after all, easy to lose touch with people working from home. Indeed David Solomon, CEO of Goldman Sachs, describes working from home as an ‘aberration’, referring to the collaborative, innovative and apprenticeship nature of investment banking. It is possible that part of his desire to get people back into the office is to ensure that the apprentices are being looked after properly. Logically they could not be pressured to continue to work 100+ hour weeks when commuting times are taken into account.

While there may be a short-term necessity or even advantage in maintaining a high pressure environment to attract and secure business, this policy will eventually fail. Under extreme stress people make mistakes or take risky shortcuts. Ultimately some people will decide that the monetary rewards don’t compensate for the ceaseless pressure and leave. Like doctors and nurses, financial analysts are not easy to replace.

It would avoid a lot of pain in the form of unnecessary staff turnover, urgent remedial activity and bad press if situations like that at Goldman Sachs were detected before they became public. Having the ability to assess the state of an organisation’s ‘business nervous system’ on a continuous basis, by using tools such as can be found at can provide early warning of an impending crisis.


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