Morning Coffee: Barclays' special treat for overworked juniors. Ex-Goldman partner explains tech firms' superior appeal as employers

eFC logo

Barclays has been accused of working its juniors rather hard of late. In recent weeks, one of its junior bankers (who quit last year) told us it wasn't unusual for he and his colleagues to arrive in the office and 9am and to work through the night: "At 9am the next day we'd go home, shower, and then come back in again." It sounds a lot like the infamous "magic roundabout," which was supposedly stamped out in 2013.

Barclays is supposed to have protections in place to prevent its juniors being squeezed. - Senior bankers are banned from assigning work late on Friday afternoons, for example, and weekends should be protected as far as possible.

If, however, you do happen to be working at the weekend at Barclays as an analyst or associate in the investment banking division, then guess what? A treat may be in store. In a long article on the mind of Jes Staley, Bloomberg says Barclays' CEO likes to frequent the London office on Saturdays, where he will 'mingle with the junior bankers putting in extra hours.'

Bloomberg thinks Staley is a nice guy. He's a, 'chatty, affable man with a habit of tapping the table when he talks,' he has 'nerve and swagger,' and he doesn't say things like, 'customer journey' (as did his predecessor as CEO at Barclays).

Staley's easy affability appears in contrast to Andrea Orcel, the outgoing CEO of UBS's investment bank, who was reportedly known for his 5am starts, midnight phone calls and probing questions (to his bankers) like, “When was the last time you called the CFO?” and “Why did you skip that cocktail party?” Staley is, nonetheless, a banking CEO with a long history of working in finance. Bloomberg says former colleagues describe the Barclays CEO as a demanding taskmaster who doesn't hesitate to dump anyone who falls short. Juniors who conspicuously work Saturday afternoons should earn plaudits, therefore.

Separately, Edith Cooper, Goldman's former head of human capital management, who spent many years extolling the virtues of the bank before leaving last year, has taken time to explain why young people today will probably want to work for technology companies instead. Cooper, who is now on the boards of both Slack and Etsy, says technology companies are disruptors whereas Goldman Sachs is in a position to be disrupted. It doesn't have the same mindset as a tech firm: "It’s not about survival at Goldman Sachs. It’s about continuing to enhance and move forward.”

Cooper says Goldman is also hamstrung by regulation and takes a long time to get anything done. Most damningly, she says it's run by old people even though 72% of the employees are aged between 22 and 35. Goldman's new CEO seems conscious of this: David Solomon is famously a DJ and Goldman just opened its own Instagram account to get down with the kids. Even so, Solomon is still 56 years old. Stuart Butterfield, CEO of Slack, is aged 45. Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snap, is just 28.


Deutsche Bank says it won't be merging with Commerzbank. (Reuters) 

With six months to go before Brexit, only 630 finance jobs have left the UK. (Reuters) 

It's starting to look like banks will need to make more cuts to their fixed income currencies and commodities divisions. (DealBook) 

Emmanuel Macron's popularity is ebbing in France: "For me it really is a case of a president behaving like a banker.”... “He comes across as a bit of a snob.” (Financial Times)

Yale University stands accused of holding Asian-American applicants to a higher standard than students of other races and of using an illegal quota to cap the number of Asian-American students it admits. (Wall Street Journal) 

Could you solve Goldman Sachs' girls' coding challenge? (Goldman Sachs) 

Slightly more Americans would now feel proud rather than embarrassed to work for Goldman Sachs. (Marketwatch) 

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available.

Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

Related articles

Popular job sectors


Search jobs

Search articles