Goldman Sachs relaxes dress code for techs in fight for talent

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(Reuters) – Traditionally buttoned-up Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) has relaxed the dress code for its computer engineers in a bid to attract tech talent with a more casual environment.

The fifth-largest U.S. bank by assets told employees in its technology division to “exercise judgment in determining when to adapt to business attire,” according to an internal memo from late June seen by Reuters on Thursday.

It did not specify whether hoodies or sneakers, the ad-hoc uniform of millennial tech workers, constitute acceptable dress.

The move, one of the first by Goldman’s new chief information officer Elisha Wiesel, comes as the bank makes a push to recruit and keep hold of top tech talent in the face of intensifying competition.

Goldman and other Wall Street banks have been struggling for years to compete for the best employees with Silicon Valley firms and hedge funds, which often have better hours and workplace perks for top software developers and engineers.

Wiesel replaced Martin Chavez, now the firm’s chief financial officer, as Goldman’s highest ranking technology executive in January.

About a quarter of Goldman’s 33,000 employees are engineers who have helped transform the firm since the 2007-2009 financial crisis by making trading more efficient and building new businesses such as its consumer lending platform called Marcus.

The majority of the bank’s employees still adhere to a professional business dress code unless told otherwise by their group’s manager.

Other banks are also relaxing dress codes. Last year, JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) said it would allow employees to wear business-casual attire on most occasions. In 2013, Barclays Plc (BARC.L) started to allow casual Fridays.

Reporting by Olivia Oran and Anna Irrera in New York; Editing by Bill Rigby