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It's not a hiring freeze, but it is pretty cold.

The euphemism explaining Goldman Sachs' hiring plans for 2023

Goldman Sachs’ 2023 investor day has already given some interesting insights into what’s going on at Wall Street’s most well-known investment bank.

On its plan to “recalibrate” the bank’s size, Goldman said it would “curtail attrition replacement,” a rather odd choice of words. It also said it was reducing headcount – which isn’t a surprise – and “focusing on strategic hires”, which is a pretty common feeling at banks these days.

Denis Coleman, Goldman's CFO, explained (sort of). The bank is "curtailing the replacement hiring of normal course attrition," he said at the firm's investor day. In plainer language: Goldman doesn't intend to replace those who leave voluntarily as a result of natural staff turnover.

Although there’s no suggestion that there’ll be a full scale hiring freeze at Goldman, today's statement explains why vacancies at Goldman seem pretty minimal now. It also echoes that of Bank of America’s CEO, Brian Moynihan, who said that BofA “have an ability to reshape our headcount pretty quickly just by turnover."

In a normal year, roughly 8% of bankers leave voluntarily – providing a (relatively) easy out for banks who want to reduce headcount without demoralizing the rest of their workforce. However, Goldman CEO David Solomon said today that turnover at the firm is at a low in terms of recent history. 

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AUTHORZeno Toulon

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