Recruitment & HR

Goldman Sachs has moved to give its partners and senior bankers unlimited holidays.

The ‘flexible vacation’ plans will not be extended to junior staff, who will still only be entitled to a fixed amount of holiday despite reports of them burning out in the past.

Human resources tech firm Personio criticised the move as a “sticking plaster”.

“Whilst on the surface the offer of unlimited holiday appears to be the perfect solution for enabling staff to disconnect from work and recharge, it’s unlikely to achieve anything without a fundamental change in culture,” said Ben Kiziltug, head of Northern Europe at the $6.3billion tech company headquartered in Munich.

“As a company famed for its long working hours, the move appears to simply be paying lip service to the concept of improving employee wellbeing.”

Last year, recent graduate starters at the company threatened to quit unless their working conditions improved. An internal survey found that they averaged 95 hours of work a week and slept just five hours a night.

All 13 respondents said the job negatively affected their relationships with friends and family, while 77% said they had been victims of workplace abuse.

Alongside the unlimited holidays for senior staff, Goldman is now adding two extra days holiday a year for junior staff.

“As a firm, we are committed to providing our people with differentiated benefits and offerings to support wellbeing and resilience,” the company – which made profits of $21.6 billion in 2021 – wrote in an internal memo to staff.

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Kiziltug continued: “It’s pertinent that this benefit seems to be limited to senior partners, when only a year ago it was the junior cohort who were complaining of burnout after working 100-hour weeks.

“By restricting this benefit, the move risks creating resentment and further worsening relationships between those in different levels – leading to breakdown in company culture.

“In order to make genuine, long-term improvements to the welfare of staff, employers must address the core issues that are causing people to leave, and avoid filling in the cracks with short-term solutions such as unlimited leave.”