Goldman Sachs Employees Sound Off Amid Top Executive’s Public Resignation

Goldman Sachs executive director, Greg Smith, dropped a bombshell through the financial world and beyond when he publicly resigned through a severely critical opinion piece in the New York Times.

Smith said he wanted his opinion piece to be a “wake-up call to the board of directors,” and urged them to “Make the client the focal point of your business again. Without clients you will not make money. In fact, you will not exist. Weed out the morally bankrupt people, no matter how much money they make for the firm. And get the culture right again, so people want to work here for the right reasons.”

Some 35,000 employees work at Goldman Sachs. So, is Greg Smith’s opinion indicative of what it’s really like for everyone else who works inside the company?

Glassdoor, a jobs and career community, has looked at recent feedback from employees themselves to shed light into what’s working well, and what could be improved at one of the world’s most recognized financial institutions. What we found is that:

  • Goldman Sachs Employees are Satisfied. The company receives a 3.8 (satisfied) rating among employees (based on more than 680 company reviews; Ratings are based on a 5-point scale: 5=very satisfied, 3=OK, 1=very dissatisfied). This is above the average company rating on Glassdoor, which is a 3.1 (OK) rating.
  • A Strong Majority of Employees Approve of CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Blankfein receives a 94% cumulative approval rating (6% disapproval) among employees (based on more than 525 ratings.) Over time, Blankfein’s approval rating has been consistently high, even with an approval low of 84% in the third quarter of 2011. In addition, Blankfein’s approval rating is consistently higher than the average CEO rating on Glassdoor, which is 62% approval. The table below further illustrates Blankfein’s approval rating quarter by quarter among employees:

So what exactly do employees have to say about senior leadership and other workplace factors at Goldman Sachs? Below is some recent employee commentary on what’s working well (Pros), what could be improved (Cons), along with straightforward advice from employees to senior management:


Great principles that the firm is based on. Lots of hard working people, really strong team environment, everyone wants to help you learn if you ask. Seems like a great place to develop into a great banker.” – Goldman Sachs Investment Banking Analyst (New York, NY)

One of the key business principles at Goldman Sachs is that capital, talent, and reputation are the main assets of the firm. Reputation, however, is the most important and guarded extremely carefully. This makes the people of Goldman Sachs, especially, senior management act with utmost integrity.” – Goldman Sachs Strategist (New York, NY)


The “prestige” factor for both the Firm and the industry is clearly not where it was 5-10 year ago, but its still one of the top places to work.” – Goldman Sachs Executive Director (location n/a)

Most of the people are there for themselves and are willing to do pretty much anything to look out for their own best interests. The company works in “teams” to create revenue, but there is no sense that anyone is there to be a part of a “team” unless they are grossly profitting from their extremely weathly clients.” – Goldman Sachs Client Analyst (Boston, MA)

Advice to Senior Management

Better take care to eliminate some of that headline risk. The firm is starting to lose its luster, so it’s harder to justify treating your people poorly for the sake of reputation.” – Goldman Sachs Employee (New York, NY)

Acknowledge that politics drives away quality people, and once few start leaving, more and more will look for options outside.” – Goldman Sachs Technology Analyst (New York, NY)

Do you work at Goldman Sachs or any other company and want to let others know what it’s really like to work there? Share a review on Glassdoor.