It’s Unbelievably Hard to Get a Job at Goldman Sachs

February 9, 2016, 8:09 PM UTC
CEO Lloyd Blankfein on the Goldman Sachs fourth-floor trading floor
Photograph by Stephen Wilkes

Bagging a job at Goldman Sachs (GS)‘ is a phenomenon rarer than receiving an acceptance letter from Harvard University.

During a presentation in Miami Tuesday, the investing giant reported that roughly 3% of its applicants, or 9,700 out of 313,000, secured a position in 2015. That number includes summer internships.

Harvard University posted an acceptance rate of 5.3% for 2015 applicants.

Investments banking jobs have a notoriously low acceptance rate. Fellow banking giant Morgan Stanley (MS) reported that less than 2% of its applicants for a summer analyst position received an offer, according to Bloomberg.

Shifting Demographic

The number of employees at Goldman increased 11% since 2012, when the bank’s acceptance rate was also 3% with 267,000 applicants, CEO Lloyd Blankfein said at the Credit Suisse Group conference. Bloomberg first reported the story Tuesday.

While most banks were cutting down on staffing in 2015, the Wall Street giant hired 2,800 employees, up 8% from a year earlier, according to Business Insider.

But many of the new hires are located in low-cost areas such as Bangalore, Bengaluru, and Salt Lake City, according to the company’s second-quarter earnings call—keeping costs low. In the second quarter, 75% of new hires were based out of lower-cost areas according to Harvey Schwartz, Goldman’s CFO.


The percent of potential hires who accepted Goldman Sachs’ offers also fell this year to 82%, down from nearly 90% a year earlier, Bloomberg reported.

Blankfein said the bank was also working to round up more young talent, in part to reduce costs. In 2015, the number of lower level positions—analysts, associates, and vice presidents—rose 17% while the number of partners and managing directors has fallen 2% since 2012.

In recent years, Goldman Sachs also rolled out new rules in an effort to to retain its younger hires by doling out raises and banning junior bankers from working Saturdays.

It is not alone: Barclays (BCS) has mandated that junior employees stay away from the office on Saturdays, while J.P. Morgan (JPM) introduced advanced track promotions, allowing top analysts to become managing directors in 8.5 years rather than the traditional 12.5 years.

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