Thursday, July 16, 2009

Oh, The Tricks They Will Play

Is Goldman Sachs inflating its employee numbers so that its profit per employee is lower? That's the latest speculation on the street.

Here's Dealbook's Graham Bowley:

Some people on Wall Street are suggesting that Goldman Sachs inflated its staffing numbers to deflate its compensation figures per employee.

In a footnote to its financial results on Tuesday, Goldman said that for the first time it was including consultants and temporary staff in its overall employee figures. This had the result of increasing its official staffing levels by 2,000 jobs or so in both the first and second quarters.

Earlier this year, for example, Goldman said it had 27,898 workers at the end of the first quarter, but now it says that number was 29,800.

The reason for the increase, Goldman said, was that the costs associated with these workers had always been in the overall compensation figures it reports. Now that it is a commercial bank, Goldman wants to do what other commercial banks do, and they include such workers in their numbers.

But the statistical change also had the effect of reducing Goldman’s compensation per employee number. Coincidence? Or useful in a quarter when it knew it was going to get political heat for returning to big bonuses so soon after taking all that government aid to see it through last year?

1 comment: