Goldman Sachs Group Inc. hired just 3 percent of more than 267,000 job applicants last year, as the firm told investors it’s still the top destination for bankers.
Almost 90 percent of those offered a position chose to join, Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein said Tuesday at an investor conference in Florida. Blankfein touted the firm’s simpler business model and higher profitability compared with rivals and said the bank has made progress even as return on equity remained at about 11 percent the past three years.
Goldman Sachs is “the employer of choice in our industry,” said Blankfein, 60. “We believe our culture, stability and talent pool are our biggest competitive advantages.”
The bank is showcasing its ability to attract and retain top talent even as compensation has fallen and the firm’s public image suffered in the wake of the financial crisis and congressional probes. The company finished last in an annual ranking of corporate reputations of the 100 most-visible U.S. companies, market research firm Harris Poll said this month.
Still, Fortune magazine named the New York-based bank one of the 100 best companies to work for, a citation Goldman Sachs has received every year since the list began in 1984, according to Blankfein’s presentation.
Other banks also have highlighted their selectivity, as Morgan Stanley said last year it received 90,000 applications for its summer program. Firms including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley boosted salaries for junior bankers amid competition for talent from private-equity and hedge-fund firms and other industries such as technology.
Goldman Sachs employed 34,000 people at the end of 2014, up from 32,900 a year earlier. The 8,300 jobs the bank filled include replacing workers that left and temporary positions. The company set aside 36.8 percent of revenue for compensation last year, down from an average of 47.3 percent in the eight years before the financial crisis.
The firm said in May 2013 that it had 17,000 applicants for 350 spots in a summer analyst program in its investment-banking division.