Thursday 8 April 2021 9:39 am

God vs Goldman Sachs: Justin Welby slams 'unethical' work practices

The Archbishop of Canterbury has this morning slammed Goldman Sachs over its treatment of junior staff after it emerged that some employees had been working an average of 100 hours a week.

Since its “inhumane” workplace practices were made public last month, the Wall Street bank has faced severe criticism on several fronts.

Read more: Goldman Sachs boss praises staff for speaking out against ‘inhumane’ treatment and 100-hour weeks

Speaking to the Financial Times, the UK’s most senior clergyman is the latest to come out against the firm.

“I just think it’s plain wrong”, Justin Welby said. “95 hour weeks — in certain circumstances, fine. We all have times when you have to work ridiculous hours in a real crisis.

“But when you look at their return on capital employed, when you look at the remuneration of the really senior people… The attitude that you don’t hire some more junior people, so that they can work still a long, heavy week — a 50/60-hour week — but have time for family, for dating, for fun and sport, [means that] you’re saying nothing matters more than the maximum amount of money we can get.

“You’ll carry that into ethics of the organisation. You can’t compartmentalise and say, I’m going to make you work a 95-hour week, because we’ve got to have more profit, but you’ve got to be really ethical while you’re doing that. Because what you’re asking them to do is not ethical. It’s internally incoherent. I really worry where I see staff working too hard.”

Goldman Sach’s chief executive David Soloman has said that the firm is taking the complaints “very seriously”.

In a video delivered to the bank’s 34,000 staff, he said: “I can imagine that many of you saw the presentation that a group of analysts shared with their management recently about their lack of work-life balance.

“This is something that our leadership team and I take very seriously.”

Read more: Goldman Sachs junior staff slam bank’s ‘inhumane’ 100-hour working weeks

The boss added that he will be improving enforcement of “the Saturday rule”, which allows junior bankers to not be expected in the office from 9pm on Friday until 9am on Sunday.

Soloman also expressed plans for hiring more junior staff across its investment banking faction to help reduce workloads.

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