What if you don't make "power associate" at Goldman Sachs?

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It's quicker to make associate at Goldman Sachs than it used to be. Whereas you used to have slog at analyst level for three years before hitting associate, you're now an analyst for only two years and are promoted to associate one year early. In theory, that first associate year is a time of exploration. - When it was introduced, Goldman president David Solomon said Goldman's new first year associates would get a chance to try out other teams and work out what they wanted to do next.

But what if you don't get promoted?

Goldman's early associate promotions happened this month and one London recruiter says he's encountered candidates who say they're being ousted from the firm after failing to move up. The implication is that the hurdle for progression is higher and not everyone in the analyst program is clearing it.

Goldman Sachs declined to comment on its analyst promotions. Goldman isn't the only bank to promote analysts to associates after two years: Deutsche, Credit Suisse, Citi, RBS and J.P. Morgan do the same. Are the accelerate programs simply an opportunity for banks to trial juniors for two years and then remove them if they don't make the cut? Maybe.

At Goldman at least, however, the situation may be less dire than ejected analysts suggest. Our understanding is that almost everyone has been promoted to associate this year and that only 5% have been let go - in line with Goldman's policy of dropping the lowest performers across all its divisions. Recruiters say those who are ousted can easily go on to find jobs with lower tier banks. 

As well as promoting analysts to associates after two years, there are signs that Goldman has been hiring new elite associates in. This month, for example, it recruited Shounak Das from Macquarie Capital for its European Equity Capital Markets team. Das joined as an associate despite spending only two years as an analyst at Macquarie.


Photo credit: Even Superman gets the blues by darwin Bell is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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