Banks Like Goldman Sachs Compete With Side Hustles Now, Too

There are so many things to do these days other than be a hard-charging investment banker or trader: Even Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has to offer more than just a ladder to riches to keep its people on board.

Banks like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase & Co. were much quicker to demand a return to the office than some rivals year. It was a bet that their halls of power were a bigger draw and that staff wouldn’t leave for lesser names in finance. But they missed half the picture; there are more alternative careers and lifestyles to tempt their people away.

Goldman Sachs will soon offer staff more of the soft, non-monetary benefits that have become increasingly common for enlightened employers everywhere: expanded leave for family care and bereavement, for example. “We are committed to providing differentiated benefits and wellness offerings to support your wellbeing and resilience,” said a memo sent Monday by the bank’s top executives, first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Wellness was never a thing on Wall Street until now. Don’t be fooled — the top end of investment banking will remain a grinding battle of stamina, attentiveness and a sheer will to win. But Goldman Sachs and its rivals are trying to make it more acceptable to take pit stops, giving people more official signs they can raise to justify going offline.

Why? The biggest banks and white-shoe law firms are finding it harder to retain people, who are looking at the years of hard slog ahead and thinking there must be something better. Probably people always thought this, but in the past there maybe weren’t so many options.