Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman Urges Bankers Back to the Office

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  • Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman said that people who want to work from home are in “Jobland”.
  • People need to be in the office – “Careerland” – and around colleagues if they want to develop their skills.
  • Gorman said he is concerned about people’s ability to build “career skills” while working remotely.

Employees who want to continue working from home are in “Jobland” and need to return to the office – or “Careerland” – if they want to focus on building their skills, according to Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman.

“A lot of us have gone into the mindset of ‘Jobland’,” Gorman said during a keynote speech at the Australian Financial Review Business Summit in Sydney, Bloomberg reported. “Well if you’re in ‘Careerland,’ you need to be around other people to learn from them a bit.”

Gorman said that his concern was centered on the extent to which people are able to develop “career skills” while working remotely, away from colleagues, rather than whether they might be unproductive or slacking off while at home.

“My job running a company is to make sure that we train and develop our employees as professionals to do the job we need them to do,” he said, per Bloomberg.

Wall Street firms have taken a particularly firm line towards remote work, with senior bosses at major investment banks among the first to call for their staff to return to offices when pandemic measures started to be relaxed. Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan asked their bankers to return to the office in February, according to the FT.

Gorman repeated comments he first made in June insisting that if people are willing to go to a restaurant, they can go to the office.

At the time he urged bankers to return to their desks by Labor Day, saying he’d be “very disappointed” if they didn’t — he also suggested that bankers no longer living in new York should not expect to be paid New York salaries .

“I was wrong on this,” he later told CNBC in December, after the surge of the Omicron variant caused many Wall Street firms to push back their office returns.

Others financial institutions Wells Fargo and American Express are targeting a return in early March, per Bloomberg.

Morgan Stanley did not immediately reply to Insider’s request for comment, which was made outside of normal US operating hours.

A tightening economy could make it harder for people to move jobs

COVID-19 left a turbulent labor market in its wake.

In what’s been commonly dubbed the ‘The Great Resignation’ workers have quit their jobs, sometimes in record numbers. In December, 4.3 million US workers left their roles, according to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary.

They’ve been resigning for a myriad of reasons including due to a lack of childcare and taking early retirement. It’s been claimed that in the Wall Street competition for talent, firms taking too hard a line on flexible work could lose out to others offering employees greater flexibility.

In contrast, Gorman said the bank had seen relatively few departures since the pandemic began, and had received 500,000 job applications in 2021.

He said that the tightening economy and rising costs of living could soon make it harder for people to swap roles.

“At the end of the day, people have to work somewhere,” Gorman said. “If the economy turns south a little bit, I think you’ll see much less job mobility than in the last 12 months.”

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