Goldman Sachs slashes bonuses for junior bankers by as much as 90%: insiders

MONEY & BUSINESS: Goldman Sachs slashes bonuses for junior bankers by as much as 90%: insiders

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Bonus week at Goldman Sachs turned out to be a bust for already shell-shocked workers as payouts for some were slashed by as much as 90%, insiders told The Post.

Many junior bankers — who last year raked in bonuses well into the six figures — learned Wednesday they would receive just $10,000 or $15,000 despite putting in countless 100-hour weeks, insiders said.

The Wall Street titan had raised base pay for first years to $110,000 from $85,000 last year, while vice presidents were bumped up to $250,000 from $210,000.

However, those raises didn’t make up for the disappointing bonuses, insiders said. Last year, the average analyst bonus was $95,000, while those at the vice president level got an average bonus of more than $500,000.

The bonus bummer comes just a week after Goldman cut 3,200 employees from its ranks. The mood at the bank, sources add, has been even more bleak than usual since then.

Those who survived the culling won’t see the cash hit their bank accounts until next week. After that, some Goldman insiders expect to see a mass exodus from the bank.

The reactions to the paltry bonuses ranged from anger at getting very little reward for hours of stress and exhaustion, to disappointment and even anxiety about making mortgage payments, employees told The Post.

David Solomon said, “We always strive to maintain a pay-for-performance culture.”
AFP via Getty Images

“We all knew it was coming because of how much they are cutting back,” one worker told The Post on Thursday. “But it doesn’t mean it makes it easier.”

A Goldman spokesperson pointed The Post to comments executives made in the company’s earnings call Tuesday.

 “While compensation expenses were down 15% for the year… We always strive to maintain a pay-for-performance culture,” chief executive David Solomon said on Tuesday’s call. “With revenues down, compensation was lower. That said, we also recognize that we operate in a talent-driven business, and we must continue to invest in our people whose dedication is critical to our world-class franchise.”

This year’s “comp talk day,” as some call it, was accompanied by an awkward conversation as managers read to employees from a script provided by Human Resources that aimed to help Goldmanites “understand … the current financial constraints the firm is under in the market environment we are in.”

Bonuses are a reflection of the overall performance of a bank. Last week, the bank reported profits 66% lower year-over-year and revenue that was down 16% compared with 2021.

On the company’s earnings call Tuesday, Chief Financial Officer Denis Coleman noted overall compensation was down 15% — but given headcount was up 10%, there was less money to go around. Coleman also noted the 15% decline was over $2.5 billion less, making the decrease a “meaningful number.”

200 west street
Goldman Sachs cut 3,200 employees last week.
Getty Images

Adding insult to injury, the low bonuses come weeks before Goldman partners from across the globe descend on Miami for the firm’s annual partners retreat, where company bigwigs plot strategy for the next year. Between the plane tickets, the hotel rooms and the meals the junket can cost millions.

“Don’t even get me started,” one frustrated employee said.

Another person with knowledge said this year would be a “scaled-back event” compared to years prior.

While employees will have a sense of whether it’s going to be a good year or not when it comes to bonuses, banks often keep people guessing right up until the big reveal.

Head of compensation consulting firm Johnson Associates Alan Johnson told The Post firms typically avoid giving too many specifics ahead of bonus season.

“Firms try and send general messages but avoid putting out specifics numbers because you don’t want people to know that level of detail about other people’s compensation.”

For employees, that can make financial planning — like where to live or whether to get roommates — extremely difficult.

“They are so cryptic and never provide anything in terms of ballpark estimates,” a source said.

200 west street
Goldman Sachs cut thousands of workers in a massive layoff last week.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

It’s a high-stakes decision for any firm when it comes to doling out compensation, Johnson said.

“Banks go around and around about how much of a risk is it to lose a person,” Johnson said. “You need to figure out the people you need to have be the least unhappy… and you want poor performers to be the most unhappy.”



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