Goldman Sachs is set to ramp up employee numbers in its UK headquarters from 21 June, when the government lifts more Covid-19 restrictions as vaccinations continue to increase, asking its City employees to prepare for a return to the office.
Around 20% of the US banking giant’s City-based employees have been coming into the office since 29 March, when the England-wide Covid-19 lockdown started to loosen. But Goldman said that staff should “make plans to be in a position to return to the office” by 21 June, according to a 4 May memo from bank executives seen by Financial News.
The move will come a week after Goldman’s plans to start increasing numbers within its US offices, the memo said. The UK government will go to the final phase of its plans to lift Covid-19 restrictions from 21 June as it continues to roll out vaccines across the country, which have now hit 50 million.
The bank will also bring in 5,400 new interns, analysts and associates into the office in the coming months, the memo added. Goldman chief executive David Solomon, who described working from home during the pandemic as an “aberration”, has also spoken about the need to instil the apprenticeship culture back at the bank, with younger employees missing out on valuable in-person training.
“We know from experience that our culture of collaboration, innovation and apprenticeship thrives when our people come together, and we look forward to having more of our colleagues back in the office so that they can experience that once again on a regular basis,” the memo from Solomon, president and chief operating officer, John Waldron, and chief financial officer Stephen Scherr said.
While Goldman and other US banks have been quicker than European rivals to bring employees back to the office, the bank said that some pandemic working practices would remain. It will consider flexible working arrangements for employees who do not wish to return, the memo said, and has expanded Covid-19 leave for those with caring responsibilities to 30 September.
The bank also said that the layout of its offices would change.
“We are also evolving our office spaces, including enhancing common areas on many of our campuses and expanding access to outdoor spaces, where possible, and are looking to provide other amenities,” the memo said.
Goldman has followed rival JPMorgan by ramping up US employee numbers in its US offices over the summer.
JPMorgan plans to increase staff numbers from July, an April memo from CEO Jamie Dimon said. JPMorgan has yet to unveil plans to expand the number of UK staff coming into its Canary Wharf headquarters from current levels of around 25%.
However, speaking at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council, he said employee numbers would increase. “We want people back to work, and my view is that sometime in September, October it will look just like it did before,” he said. “And everyone is going to be happy with it, and yes, the commute, you know people don’t like commuting, but so what.” He added that he was “done” with Zoom meetings.
Goldman’s plans to increase numbers in the US was first reported by Bloomberg.
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