Jacqueline Arthur, Goldman Sachs

Jacqueline Arthur

Investing in People

Editors’ Note

Jacqueline Arthur is global head of Human Capital Management (HCM). She is a member of the Management Committee, Partnership Committee and Global Inclusion and Diversity Committee. Prior to her current role, Arthur served as chief operating and strategy officer for HCM. Before that, she served as the firm’s deputy chief of staff and secretary to the Management Committee. Arthur joined Goldman Sachs in 2007 and has held a number of leadership roles across the firm. She was named managing director in 2012 and partner in 2018. Prior to joining the firm, Arthur was a corporate attorney at Kirkland & Ellis.

Firm Brief

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (goldmansachs.com) is a leading global financial institution that delivers a broad range of financial services across investment banking, securities, investment management and consumer banking to a large and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments, and individuals. Founded in 1869, the firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in all major financial centers around the world.

You recently assumed the role of global head of Human Capital Management (HCM). What excited you about the role and made you feel it was the right fit?

Having worked at Goldman Sachs for 15 years when I assumed the role, I had seen first-hand the depth and breadth of HCM’s work and what it delivers to the firm. In my prior responsibilities as deputy chief of staff of Goldman Sachs in the Executive Office and chief operating officer for our Asset Management business, I partnered closely with our HCM teams to drive a number of important people initiatives over the years. I am also grateful to have been a part of HCM as chief operating and strategy officer before becoming head of the division, with the goal of helping HCM teams drive progress to execute the firm’s people strategy. The division’s impact on all aspects of our people’s experience is tremendous.

We seek to support our people at every stage of their career at Goldman Sachs, and continue to differentiate the firm as one of the best places to work. Building on my experience across the firm and working in close partnership with Goldman Sachs’ senior leadership team, I am excited to lead the division as we invest together in our people’s experience and deliver best-in-class solutions to all of our businesses.

Will you provide an overview of the role and its areas of focus?

Our firm is first and foremost a people business. We have more than 40,000 people around the world who work together to deliver for our clients, guided by our core values of client service, excellence, partnership and integrity. HCM is there every step of the way so that our teams can deliver on the firm’s aspirations – from attracting exceptional individuals with unique and diverse backgrounds, to developing and retaining the best talent, and working closely with managers to ensure they have the tools and resources to support their teams effectively.

Our global HCM team comprises dedicated functions led by subject matter experts, including across Recruiting, Reward, Benefits, Wellness and Compensation, Talent and Learning, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Employee Relations. These specialists work with our HCM business partner team whose members are aligned to our businesses globally to serve as advisors and provide targeted solutions that meet the specific needs of each area.

In my role, I work with the executive leadership of the firm and business heads who are acutely focused on advancing our people priorities. Given the global breadth and depth of our footprint, we have deep HR knowledge and representation across regions, and the focus on collaboration and excellence in execution across our HCM teams continues to inspire me.

“We seek to support our people at every stage of their career at Goldman Sachs, and continue to differentiate the firm as one of the best places to work.”

What are your key priorities as you have settled in your new role?

We invest in our people’s experience across all touchpoints. As an example, we saw close to one million applications globally in 2022 for roles at Goldman Sachs – demonstrating the firm’s position as an employer of choice, as well as the importance of further enhancing the candidate experience, while exploring non-traditional hiring routes for our industry, such as apprenticeships.

Our twice-annual GS People Pulse survey is particularly valuable in how we shape our approach – our people share their perspectives, telling us what is working well and what they would like to see more of. An important takeaway from the survey has been the importance of ensuring regular career discussions between managers and their team members – that is now codified as the Three Conversations at GS, where everyone participates in a goal-setting conversation, mid-year check in and end of year feedback discussion.

We are also growing our suite of benefits and wellness offerings. Goldman Sachs has long been a leader in supporting our people and their families – from our Pathways to Parenthood program and LGBTQ+ inclusive benefits, to our resilience programming, expanded leave options and financial wellness resources. We continue to provide best-in-class benefits for our people, while ensuring they can focus on their physical, mental and financial health.

On the topic of mental health, we’re expanding our resources – for example, we are developing a global cohort of Mental Health First Aiders – colleagues who receive training and help connect our people to firm resources. Our Employee Assistance and Critical Health Solutions programs provide access to confidential counseling both on-site and outside the firm, as well as support to navigate access to quality care. It’s important that our people know about these resources and feel that they can have an open dialogue about mental health.

How critical is it for the HR function to be engaged in business strategy?

Teams across Goldman Sachs contribute to the firm’s success, and our people take great pride in working together to advance our shared objectives. We have that same spirit of partnership in HCM – acting as partners to our businesses is an important part of the division’s approach to ensure we are serving our people and the organization effectively.

One of our recent priorities has been to support the strategic realignment of Goldman Sachs, which the firm announced late last year to deliver even better solutions to our clients. We brought together two market-leading businesses that are underpinned by several of the best franchises in financial services – Investment Banking and Global Markets – in Global Banking & Markets. We also brought together our investing and wealth activities into Asset & Wealth Management – allowing us to leverage the many synergies between these businesses for our clients. And we created Platform Solutions, a business consolidating our FinTech platforms. Delivering HR solutions to support that realignment highlighted the full scope of our HCM capabilities and was a powerful representation of collaboration across all areas of the firm.

What are your views on the future of work and the importance of in-person collaboration for employees to build culture?

Goldman Sachs’ culture is the fabric of the firm, and it’s our people who bring it to life. We have a shared passion for achieving results, and a commitment to delivering the best ideas, solutions and execution. That commitment is grounded in the recognition that we are stronger together, with collaboration as a core element of our success.

We take great care in assembling strong teams, and these highly motivated and engaged professionals value participating in a team environment. Our apprenticeship model thrives by bringing our people together as much as possible – and for new joiners, it helps them integrate more quickly and learn on-the-job with the support of their colleagues. As one example, 99 percent of our 2022 summer analysts who completed our annual survey on how they see the world told us that they believe relationships are best formed in person. We see other benefits for all of our people, not just new hires – developing relationships, being able to ask questions, brainstorming and innovating together, and building camaraderie. In my view, our culture is the firm’s most differentiating aspect and one of the key long-term drivers of the value we offer to our people, clients and shareholders.

Importantly, we continue to offer flexibility for our people, as we did before the pandemic. Individuals manage many competing demands on their time, both professionally and personally, and we encourage our people to take the flexibility they need.

How is Goldman Sachs building a diverse and inclusive workforce?

In 2020, our Chairman and CEO, David Solomon, expanded Goldman Sachs’ aspirational goals for entry-level hiring and representation across all levels of our organization. We knew driving progress towards these goals would require new and innovative approaches, and while we have made strides, there is more work to be done.

One of the areas where we have been investing significantly is diversity recruiting, with a goal of designing programming that enables us to reach even more diverse candidates. Those efforts include our HBCU Market Madness and Neurodiversity Hiring Initiatives, and the Returnship and Veterans Integration Programs, among others.

In addition, our Global Inclusion and Diversity Committee comprises senior leaders who, working closely with HCM, help ensure that all of our people have opportunities to fully contribute to our inclusive environment. Last year we ran a campaign to invite our people to update their self-identification information. By better understanding the diversity of our workforce, we can continue to develop programs to support all Goldman Sachs colleagues. Importantly, we are focused on the multi-dimensional identities of our people, including caregiver status.

I would also like to give a shout out to our Inclusion Networks, which are open to all employees. Members benefit from unique opportunities to connect with colleagues, get involved in initiatives supporting our clients and communities, and access tailored resources for career development. In 2022, we hosted our inaugural Advancing Allyship conference and Veterans Symposium, and our Inclusion Networks were instrumental to the success of both forums.

Do you feel that there are strong opportunities for women to grow and lead in the industry, and how is Goldman Sachs fostering advancement opportunities for women?

One of the commitments we made as a firm focuses on board diversity – we believe that companies with diverse boards are better positioned for stronger financial performance and improved governance. In 2020, we announced we would only take companies public in the U.S. or Western Europe with at least one diverse board member. In 2021, we increased this to two diverse board members, one of whom must be a woman.

But driving change requires building a diverse pipeline of talent at all levels, and that is why driving progress towards the aspirational goals I mentioned is a key priority for us. In addition to our hiring and representation goals, we remain focused on supporting women’s career growth through a number of programs, including the Women’s Career Strategies Initiative – an annual curriculum for women associates at the firm designed to help them invest in their skillsets and develop relationships. We also continue to elevate women leaders across the firm, including as part of our most recent partner and managing director classes, which included 29 percent and 30 percent women, respectively. We recognize we have more work to do, but we are making strong progress.

In addition, I personally have benefitted from great sponsors and mentors in my career, and leaders across the firm have an important role to play in paying it forward and serving in that mentoring capacity for others.

It’s also critical that we continue to provide comprehensive benefits and wellness offerings to support women at different stages of their lives and careers. At Goldman Sachs, these include fertility support and stipends for fertility treatment, adoption and surrogacy; paid time-off policies to care for family needs, including 20-week parenting leave for both parents; and paid leave for family care responsibilities (including for aging loved ones), pregnancy loss, and bereavement. Caregivers can also access back-up care when regular childcare falls through and help finding full-time and in-home care providers. Our larger offices have on-site childcare facilities.

What advice do you offer to young people interested in a career in the industry?

I would say take every opportunity to learn about the different types of roles that exist. We often hear, “I had no idea there were people at Goldman Sachs who do this type of work.” Talking to people, learning about their backgrounds and interests, is a great way to learn about the different paths to a career in the industry. As an example, I started my career as a lawyer, and never thought I’d join Goldman Sachs, or have the diverse set of roles I have been fortunate to work in across a number of our businesses and functions.

It’s also important to invest in your skillset – and you can do that in different ways. From observing how different people operate and tailoring your own style, to gaining exposure to various situations and increasing your confidence, adding to your “toolkit” is what allows you to grow and take on new challenges. As a firm, our commitment to continuous learning is an important part of the culture.

Finally, I’d say most successful careers aren’t a straight line, and that makes it all the more important to enjoy the journey, see the bigger picture, work collaboratively with those around you, and celebrate both the big and the small wins.

You have been with Goldman Sachs for more than 15 years. What has made the firm so special for you?

I’m not the first to say it, and I won’t be the last – but at Goldman Sachs, it’s really about the people and the culture. The talented individuals and leaders I work with every day inspire me to have a long and fulfilling career at the firm. One of my prior bosses, with whom I still work closely, often says – at one point, you become part of the firm’s history, and the firm’s history becomes part of your own story. I think many of us take pride in that as we work together to achieve stronger, better results for our clients and make meaningful progress towards our shared objectives.