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Goldman Sachs is reorienting towards a younger demographic. That doesn't mean you can walk into a job there: the acceptance rate is still abysmal.

Goldman Sachs is filling up on cheap 20-something staff, moving away from 30 and 40 year-olds

You don't have to be in your fourth decade to make managing director (MD) at Goldman Sachs, but it helps. The bank promoted a 28 year-old to MD last November, although research suggests it takes an average of 12 years to make MD at the firm. Most Goldman MDs are in their 30s, at least.

This being the case, Lloyd Blankfein's presentation at today's Credit Suisse Financial Services conference can be taken as a statement on demographics.

In the four years since 2012, Goldman has "broadened the base of the employee pyramid," said Blankfein. "Headcount is up 17% for analysts and associates and down 2% for partners and MDs."

In other words, a higher proportion than previously of Goldman's staff are in their 20s; a lower proportion are aged 30 plus.

Goldman still accepts only 3% of applicants

Does this mean you'll be in with a greater chance of getting into Goldman as a youth? Not exactly. The firm's acceptance rate is still derisory: Blankfein said 313,000 people applied for 9,700 open positions in 2015, a ratio of 33:1 and acceptance rate of just 3%.

However, some people seem more likely to get hired by GS than others. Firstly, the young. Secondly, people based in 'low cost centers' (Singapore, Salt Lake City, Warsaw, Dallas and Bengaluru). Thirdly, technologists.

Young technologists based in low cost centers appear to be Goldman's sweet-spot. Blankfein said Goldman's technology headcount in Singapore, Salt Lake City, Warsaw, Dallas and Bengaluru has increased 31% since 2012. If you want to walk into Goldman Sachs now, you probably need to be a 25 year-old C++ programmer who's keen to live in Poland.

Photo credit: Pump III by Rob Brewer is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • ej
    9 February 2016

    I'm in my 40s and I have to say, I don't think this approach is exclusive to GS! Many of my peers have been laid off the minute they reach their 40s, making way for younger, cheaper blood! It's going on all of the time in many of the top banks!

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