The first “plant layoff” notice came in February: 43 people would lose their jobs.
The second arrived six weeks later, increasing the cuts to 109 workers. Then a third, in April, for 146 more. And a fourth, in June: 98. Three more notices followed, including 20 dismissals announced last week.
The “plant” in question — Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Like all big companies in New York State, the firm is required to file a “WARN notice” with state authorities when it plans to shed large numbers of employees as part of a plant closing, or “mass layoffs” involving 250 or more. Employers also must inform the state of smaller reductions under certain circumstances, and Goldman Sachs cited a “plant layoff” in each case. Last week’s notice brings this year’s job-cut tally to 443.
With the run of notices, seven since the start of the year, the bank has signaled its intention to dismiss hundreds of employees in New York without placing a single, headline-grabbing number on the overall reduction, already its largest since 2008. The company’s approach differs from competitors, including Morgan Stanley, who have shown a preference for larger, one-time cuts.
“When there’s a big number, people right away get that something is happening at that firm — it’s a negative,” said Jeanne Branthover, a partner at New York-based executive-search firm DHR International. “This is more, ‘We’re having layoffs and we don’t want to explain it.’ It’s more under the radar screen.”
It also reflects the firm’s philosophy. The company doesn’t see a reason to make announcements about job cuts since it’s part of the normal course of business and something that needs to be done if the environment calls for it, Chief Financial Officer Harvey Schwartz said last year.
“You just have to run the business, and if the revenue environment is such that you’re in a period of decline, you just need to take those actions,” Schwartz said in November at a conference. “So, you probably won’t hear us make lots of announcements.”
The 20 people in the latest reduction were notified either this month or last, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing staffing decisions. The terminations will take place between Nov. 7 and Jan. 5, according to the notice posted on the state Labor Department’s website. The workers aren’t represented by a union.