- HBO’s “Industry,” a series set at an investment bank, returned for its second season on Monday.
- It captured how much real-life Wall Street CEOs have preferred employees back in the office.
- The season picks up in the aftermath of a pandemic, as employees have been returning to the office.
“Industry,” an HBO series centering on a fictional London-based investment bank and the recent graduates that fought their way to being hired, returned for its second season on Monday.
With its return, the series is taking a cue from real-life current events, and the season picks up in the aftermath of a pandemic. That means employees at the firm, Pierpoint, have been coming back to the office – save for Harper (played by Myha’la Herrold), who’s been working from a hotel.
This has caused tension between her and colleagues, and it captures how much real-life banking firms have preferred employees be in the office.
The episode kicks off with Eric (Ken Leung), Harper’s manager, chastising her over a video call for working from “home.” He insists that the New York branch is watching closely.
“You need to come in,” Eric says. “Everyone’s back to the office … How many weeks have I given you while everyone’s been trickling back in? I’m not going to keep asking. You’ve been out long enough.”
When Harper pushes back, he interjects: “You’re invisible where you are,” he adds.
Later in the episode, Rishi (Sagar Radia), an associate at the firm, snickers at Harper, who’s back in the office, after she fumbles a call with a client. When she asks him if he has a problem with her, he makes a scene.
“My problem is that we’ve had an empty seat at this fucking desk since the rest of us came back,” Rishi says.
The criticism of Harper reflects many on Wall Street’s firm stance on getting employees back to the office.
Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon said last year during a conference that virtual training for entry-level banking professionals was “an aberration that we’re going to correct as quickly as possible.”
Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman said during a financial summit this year that there’s a difference between those who are in “Jobland” (working from home) and “Careerland” (working from the office).
“A lot of us have gone into the mindset of ‘Jobland’,” Gorman said. “Well if you’re in ‘Careerland,’ you need to be around other people to learn from them a bit.”
Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and other banks have taken to tracking employees’ ID swipes to keep tabs on office attendance. Employees who fail to meet their in-office quotas can have their bonuses and promotions threatened, as Insider has previously reported.
Insider hasn’t watched “Industry” beyond episode one of the new season, though, and Harper could still prove to her colleagues that she is effective outside the office.
The billionaire Jesse Bloom aka “Mr. COVID” (Jay Duplass) has been ungettable for the firm, but he’s been swimming at Harper’s hotel and could be a potential client if she plays her cards right.