In private, many bank executives tasked with boosting the attendance of their direct reports expressed irritation. They said it was unfair for high-paid employees to keep working from home while others – like bank tellers or construction workers – dutifully show up every day. Wages at investment banks in the New York City area averaged $ 438,450 in 2020, up 7.8 percent from the previous year, according to the Office of Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
Two senior executives, who declined to reveal their names when discussing personnel issues, said they could kick out subordinates who do not want to return to the office regularly. Another manager expressed disappointment at the employee who refused to show up at the office, citing concerns about the virus, even though the person had recently gone on vacation.
Executives “didn’t feel like they could put pressure to get people back into the office, and those who did pressure got a real fight back,” said Ms. Wilde of the New York Partnership. “Financial services is one of those industries where there is a lot of competition for talent, so nobody wants to be the bad guy.” She expects the big finance companies will eventually force workers to return to the office, giving up salaries and promotions.
While banks resort to persuasion and nannies.
Occasionally, food trucks, free lunches and snacks, and free rides on Uber and Lyft are offered. The dress code has been relaxed. Large firms have adopted safety protocols such as on-site testing and requirements for masks in public areas. Goldman, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup are demanding that workers entering their offices be vaccinated, while Bank of America asked only vaccinated employees to return after Labor Day. JPMorgan does not require employees to be vaccinated to return to the office.
At Citi, which asked employees to return at least two days a week starting in September, offices are about 70 percent full on high-traffic days. Citi, whose chief executive Jane Fraser began operations at the height of the pandemic, has hired shuttle buses to prevent commuters from commuting from suburban Manhattan on the subway to the bank’s downtown offices. To allay fears of rising crime in New York, at least another firm has hired shuttle buses to transport people a few blocks from Pennsylvania Station to offices in Midtown, Ms Wilde said.
Telecommuting is also becoming a key factor for workers interviewing new jobs, according to Alan Johnson, managing director of Johnson Associates, a Wall Street compensation consultancy.