Goldman Sachs is pulling out all the stops to hold onto its junior bankers

Lloyd BlankfeinGoldman SachsGoldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein.

Entry-level jobs on Wall Street are notoriously gruelling.

Life as a junior banker has traditionally meant long hours, late nights, and doing the grunt work that the senior bankers pass on.

Now, Goldman Sachs is trying to change that.

The Wall Street giant announced a handful of initiatives on Thursday designed to make things a little easier for junior bankers — and to encourage them to stay on longer than the two year mark, when many bankers leave.

Earlier promotions

Typically, banks hire”analysts,” or junior bankers, for a two-year program directly out of college. After the analysts put in their two years, most move onto jobs with hedge funds or private equity firms — or in another industry altogether.

Bankers who stay on usually do a third year as an analyst before being promoted to associate. About 2 1/2 years after that, they are promoted to vice president.

Goldman already did away with its 2-year analyst program a couple of years ago in an effort to encourage junior bankers to see themselves at the bank more long-term.

Now, the bank is going to start promoting top investment-banking analysts to associates after only two years at the firm.

That means they will get a pay raise sooner than they normally would. Across Wall Street, associates earn about $US63,000 more than analysts, on average.

And, importantly, analysts will hear about their likely promotion earlier on, too — around 6 months into their first year at the bank. That’s the same time that hedge funds and private equity firms start reaching out to the bank analysts to recruit them.

Adding a rotational year

Goldman is also introducing a formal “mobility program” for junior investment bankers in their third year.

That means that after completing two years in one assignment, analysts — some of whom are promoted to associates — will go on rotational assignment for another full year.

The move could be small — within one particular business or business unit — or it could be as extreme as moving to the other side of the world for a year.

“We’re basically going to tell people: you spend three years with us, you’re going to get two distinct experiences,” said Goldman’s cohead of investment banking, David Solomon.

The bank will also hire between 10-50 new managers to look after junior bankers. It will create a new role, called “Junior Banker Sponsor” and put one in each regional office.

Leaving the grunt work to the robots

A third initiative will see changes in the type of work that Goldman’s junior bankers are doing.

One of the reasons investment banking is becoming a less-attractive option for college graduates is because of the monotonous, gruelling work that junior bankers have to do.

One hedge fund intern hoping to skip the banking process and go directly to the buy-side told us: “A monkey could do the job of a junior banker.”

So Goldman is introducing new technological platforms to pick up some of the grunt work. That way analysts can focus on more “value-added” work.

“We’ve been very, very focused on building out technology platforms that help us do that,” Solomon said.

“A lot of the things that we do for clients have historically been very human capital-intensive, but with technology today and the platforms you can develop and the way information is used today, a lot of this stuff is not as value-added as it used to be.”

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