Morgan Stanley chief executive James Gorman sent a strong message to staff in the US who are reluctant to return to their desks, saying, “If you can go into a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office.”
“By Labor Day, I’ll be very disappointed if people haven’t found their way into the office and then we’ll have a different kind of conversation,” Gorman added, referring to the US public holiday at the start of September.
Gorman’s unyielding message was directed at New York employees, based at the bank’s headquarters in the city. The bank’s policy will vary by location and Covid-19 risk, with its 2000 employees based in India not required to return this year.
“If you want to get paid New York rates, you work in New York,” he told analysts and investors during a virtual conference on Monday. Those who wanted to work remotely from other states like Colorado and Florida would not be viewed in a favourable light.
The bank chief delivered his tough message on the same day as Goldman Sach’s US-based employees were expected to return to the office. Its other rival JPMorgan Chase & Co’s July deadline for US staff return is also fast approaching.
Morgan Stanley was not yet “dictating” that its 70,000 employees return to the office, Gorman clarified, but he had sent a “directionally very strong” message to the same effect to staff based at the US head office.
Gorman placed a particular stress on getting junior staff back in the office, saying it’s “where we teach, where our interns learn. That’s how we develop people. Where you build all the soft cues that go with having a successful career that aren’t just about Zoom presentations.”
Of those employees who were already back in Morgan Stanley’s offices, 90 per cent were now vaccinated, according to the bank chief, who expected this to increase to 98 per cent soon. The bank had even collaborated with a healthcare provider recently to vaccinate staff at its offices, Gorman said.
The bank boss did hold back when it came to employees’ vaccination status, saying Morgan Stanley staff were not required to disclose with their employer whether or not they’d had the vaccine – unlike rival Goldman Sachs, whose employees have until Thursday to report whether they’ve had the jab.