Goldman Sachs

Goldman bullish on talent pool

Investment bank gets 17,000 applications for 350 jobs and insists it has no problem attracting talent

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 June, 2013, 4:19am

Goldman Sachs, the top merger adviser last year, hired 350 summer analysts in its investment-banking division from a pool of more than 17,000 applicants, President Gary Cohn said.

The firm has "no problem" attracting talent, and has an acceptance rate on job offers of more than 80 per cent, Cohn said on Thursday at a conference in New York sponsored by Sanford C. Bernstein. Goldman Sachs receives between 50,000 and 70,000 applications for full-time jobs, he said.

"The vast majority were highly qualified kids that wanted to come to work at Goldman Sachs," Cohn said. "The other area where we've had very good success recently is our lateral hiring programme. We've been able to hire many very talented people from different competitors out there in the world in the last six months."

Cohn's comments came in response to a question from Brad Hintz, an analyst at Bernstein, about whether top students are eschewing Wall Street for the technology industry and whether Goldman Sachs' decision to lower compensation costs to 38 per cent of revenue last year hurt retention. The 38 per cent figure is not a set target, chief financial officer Harvey Schwartz said at the conference.

"We want to make sure we do our best to get the balance right for our shareholders," Schwartz said. "The culture around compensation is really making sure that we continue to attract and retain all the best people."

Goldman Sachs decided last year to stop offering two-year contracts to investment-banking analysts, instead emphasising longer careers at the company. That ended a practice in place for a quarter of a century for new hires within the mergers and underwriting groups.

The number of Harvard College's final-year students going to work on Wall Street increased to 15 per cent this year from 9 per cent last year, according to an annual survey of 780 students, almost half the graduating class. Even with the increase, the figure is still down from before the global credit crisis when, in 2007, 47 per cent of the graduating class said it was taking jobs in finance, the Harvard Crimson reported on May 28.