Goldman Sachs hires 5,000 cowboys with salaries of $90,000

When it comes to careers in investment banking, the city of Dallas has a bit of an unfair reputation as a career backwater, full of back office centers and regional wealth management executives who spend a lot of time in country clubs. Even for oil and gas hedging, Houston is often where the deals happen. However, a look at the Goldman Sachs careers portal shows that there is a lot of gold in the Texas dust; there are vacancies advertised at VP level, with many of them in Marco Argenti’s “engineering” team. Checking the roles against the data Goldman reports to the US government under the H1B visa program reveals that these pay a decent six figures, with a vice president position submitted in March with a base salary of 270,000 $.

Goldman already has an office in Dallas, but it will be hiring more there. According to Bloomberg, he is taking the lease on an 800,000 square foot downtown business tower. The old rule of thumb was that bankers needed 100 square feet to 125 square feet each, suggesting Goldman could accommodate up to 8,000 staff in that space, although 5,000 was the number quoted. Post-COVID, more space is probably needed for ventilation and social distancing, but on the other hand, Marco Argenti has said in the past that engineers are a “special case” when it comes to remote working policies .

In any case, as part of the package of local property tax cuts and investment incentives, Goldman has pledged to City Council to create “a minimum of 5,000 tower jobs.” by 2028, with an average base salary of $90,000.” The company “cannot comment on our future expansion plans at this time”, but it seems unlikely that it would sign a deal like this if it thought the targets were difficult to achieve.

Which means there could be a lot of good jobs at Goldman Dallas. A six-figure salary allows you to buy far more homes in suburban Dallas than in suburban Manhattan. According to the H1B data panel, the lowest-paying analyst positions they’ve done in the last year (Goldman already has 4,000 employees in Dallas elsewhere) are between $50-60,000. For five jobs at that salary, you need to add a job of $250,000 to bring the average down to the agreed level.

The implication is that Goldman is going to hire real Dallas bankers, not support staff; this is not a case where one would expect much recruitment to take place at a job fair in a mall. And where one bulge support goes, others tend to follow. Could it be that Manhattan bankers have finally walked away from the market, that it’s not all about Miami. The future of Goldman’s recruitment in America is a satellite office in Dallas.

Elsewhere, one of the big fears of investment banking management seems to be that if you allow employees to work from home, they could sit at home doing little. Apparently it takes a very enlightened manager like Robbie Pryde of TD Corporate and Investment Banking to ask themselves – if there are no deals, why shouldn’t they take a little time to reload the batteries? This is part of the reason TD allows its bankers a relatively generous three-day office work model.

If there are no trades to be made, then the bankers will not make any trades, that’s easy to understand. There are only so many administrative tasks and speculative pitchbooks that can be used to fill the time, so the thing is, in quiet places in the industry, people are going to spend a lot of time not do nothing, whether they are in the office or not. Some of that time can be valuable — casual chats, socializing, and team building — but once you’re into your fourth hour at the office listening to MD war stories or chatting about bitcoin, you might think that diminishing returns have set in and the sensible thing to do might be to spend some of that enforced free time somewhere where you can make use of it.

Meanwhile …

Bankers’ bonuses are still a subject for populist politicians, it seems – the UK government is facing demands to make clear its intentions to lift the cap on variable pay (which was originally a rule of the EU and could therefore be abolished after Brexit). However, there appear to have been cross threads between this and an unrelated cap on company director compensation. (Huffington Post)

Paul Brennan, head of currency sales to UK investors at Citi, remembers for pride month working for ten years before coming out to colleagues, and hugs and tears on the floor when he finally did. (Financial News)

Former Morgan Stanley CEO Alex Clavel takes over as head of Softbank International – Michel Combes has resigned to pursue other opportunities, just five months after being promoted. (Bloomberg)

A major systems overhaul within Citi’s institutional client group means a robust hiring market for people who can do the job. They plan to hire 4,000 tech workers this year, and global head of tech Stuart Riley says “the last 12 months have been the most competitive [hiring] market that I have seen in my career as a technologist”. (Business Insider)

After the pandemic and the explosion in transactions, “there are a lot of people in the industry who are not so happy” according to financial law firms. Some decided the solution was to “bring your dog to work the same day”, others turned to ex-Special Forces soldiers to explain to their staff how much worse things could be. Everyone has to pay more money. (Financial News)

Finally some good news: one day, a huge solar plasma bomb will destroy human civilization. Some scientists are trying to rob us of even that hope for relief, by planning for “coronal mass ejections” and using capacitors to make the power grid robust. (CABLE)

Photo by Megan Bucknall on Unsplash

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