Goldman Sachs bankers love Goldman Sachs, RBS employees surprisingly optimistic

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Goldman Sachs has created a culture whereby employees feel like they’re part of a “virtuous circle” of intense competition that is rewarded by outperforming their investment banking peers, according to UBS analysts.

The U.S. investment bank ranks first for employee satisfaction among the major investment banks, according to a research report from UBS analysts led by Hubert Jeaneau called ‘Corporate culture: relevant to investors?’. The research aimed to highlight how company culture, which can shape the performance of an institution, could be quantified and perhaps used by the buy-side in their investment decisions.

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The report covers numerous sectors, analysing employee satisfaction by looking at feedback on career websites CareerBliss, GlassDoor and Indeed. However, the ranking for banks is outlined in the chart below.


UBS analysts say that Goldman has developed a “culture of success in a highly competitive industry”. This taps into employees’ competitive nature and creates a “virtuous cycle, both reinforcing employees’ competitive spirits and endorsing a positive perception of the firm”.

"Separately, Goldman has supported a culture of risk management that permeates the organization. This has allowed Goldman to avoid large losses that have tripped up competitors during periods of volatility and crisis," it said.

Generally, headcount reductions have left employees feeling downbeat and banks need to make efforts to "restore staff morale post-crisis could influence competitive strength".

We can also take from this ranking that employees at RBC, Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered and J.P. Morgan are more content in their work than the industry average. Not surprisingly, both staff at RBS – where there have been brutal and ongoing job cuts – and Barclays, which has been hit by a series of scandals and senior management departures, are among the least satisfied.

Nonetheless, despite the fact that RBS continues to leak investment bankers and wield the axe freely, its employees are motivated to deliver change, believes UBS. “We see the relatively optimistic tone of employee comments as an encouraging sign of the company’s resilience, although we think this would have to be confirmed by further data, especially in the context of an upcoming change of leadership.”