If you know anything about Goldman Sachs, you will know that the bank has a lot of vice presidents. - They're one of the most populous groups in Goldman's hierarchy, accounting for over 12,000 of its 39,800 employees. This being so, it might be said that getting promoted to VP is no big deal, except that it's a necessary condition of advancing further still to the truly illustrious ranks of Goldman managing director or partner.
Goldman Sachs promoted 1,500 people to VP this week. It's not clear whether this was more or less than in previous years, nor is it clear how the promotions were distributed between divisions. But it does seem that making VP in some areas of Goldman Sachs is quicker than others.
This year's promotions include Padraig O'Connor, a macro rates salesman who joined Goldman as an analyst in London in 2013 and took five years to make VP. There's also Asim Sheikh, a technology analyst who joined Goldman as an analyst in 2015 after completing a masters degree, John Andrew Stone, who just made VP in equities strats after joining Goldman as an analyst in 2012, and Jennifer Hallgren, who joined GS as an analyst in 2013 and is now a VP in the Investment Management Division.
For the moment, it's not clear who's been promoted in the investment banking division (IBD) - possibly because not all divisions have been informed yet. In theory, however, it's possible to make vice president in IBD at Goldman Sachs in around four years thanks to the bank's accelerated analyst program, introduced in 2015. - Although many people in IBD still seem to take longer than that.
There are some signs that quants or strats at Goldman get promoted more quickly. Last year, for example, the firm promoted Sarah Eugene, a Cambridge University mathematics graduate with a mathematics PhD from France's ecole Polytechnique, just sixteen months after hiring her as an associate. In IBD, people hired at associate level had to wait three and a half years for a similar promotion.
Even if you make VP at Goldman Sachs, there's no guarantee that you'll continue to flourish. While 1,500 VPs were promoted at Goldman this year, no one at all was promoted to managing director in 2018 because the firm only makes MD promotions biannually. Last year's Goldman MD class only comprised 509 people. - For most Goldmanites, VP is therefore the end of the line. This is why there are plenty of people working at the firm who've been VPs for 10 years or more...
Plateauing at VP can be a bore. - Witness the disgruntlement of Greg Smith, the ex-Goldman VP who wrote a book complaining about his predicament in 2012. Back then, Smith said Goldman only promoted 1,000 people from VP to MD every year and that although he'd had excellent reviews, he never got moved up. However, Smith also revealed that he was earning $500k as a Goldman VP, so it wasn't that bad.
For 2016 to 2017, recruitment firm Arkesden Partners says Goldman Sachs paid its newly promoted London-based VPs in IBD a salary of £134k ($170k) and an average bonus of £105k. Within two years, Arkesden said they could expect to have their salary and bonus increased to an average of £160k and £161k respectively.
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