Banks pay women less than two-thirds of men’s earnings

Banks pay women less than two-thirds of men's earnings

The UK financial sector has made minimal progress in closing the gender pay gap over the past year, with some banks delaying or even nullifying progress, according to new data.

Glyn Kirk | AFP | Getty Images

The UK financial sector has made minimal progress in closing the gender pay gap over the past year, with some banks holding back – or even reversing – progress by paying women less than two-thirds of men’s wages, new data shows.

The UK financial industry had an average gender pay gap of 22.7% in 2022-23, which was only slightly below the 23% reported in 2021-22, according to the government’s Gender Pay Gap Service website published documents.

UK law has required companies, charities and public bodies with 250 or more employees to publish annual gender pay gap figures since 2017.

The financial sector recorded the country’s second-largest average gender pay gap last year, just behind the education sector’s 23.2%.

According to a CNBC analysis, banks had the largest gap to larger financial companies.

How banks perform

HSBC Bank PLC had the widest gender pay gap among reporting UK banks, with women’s median hourly wage being 51.1% lower than men’s – compared to 29% in 2017-18.

Within its dedicated UK entity, HSBC UK Bank PLC – which now has a comparatively larger workforce – the gap was 20.3%.

At Barclays Bank PLC, women’s reported hourly wages were 35% lower than men’s. In its dedicated UK unit, Barclays Bank UK PLC, women were paid 14.8% less.

Lloyds Banking Group’s gap was similarly high at 34.8%. At NatWest, women earned 31.6% less than men based on their median hourly wage. At Standard Chartered Bank, on the other hand, women’s wages were 24.8% lower.

The gap was 18.7% for Morgan Stanley UK Limited and 36.1% for Morgan Stanley & Co. International PLC. Within the JP Morgan Chase Bank National Association, the gap was 17.1%.

Several other banks were not required to report due to the size of their UK operations.

In statements released with their files, the banks pointed out that a lack of women in managerial positions had widened the gaps.

Most industries fail to close the gap

The gender pay gap in the UK remains stubborn despite persistent calls to reduce gender inequality and numerous studies highlighting the economic benefits of such action.

Across all sectors, up to eight in 10 UK employers paid men more than women on average, according to the BBC analysis of the data.

In 2023-23, the median gender pay gap across all reporting companies was 9.4% – the same level as in 2017-18, when mandatory pay gap reporting began.

The gap briefly rose to 10.5% in 2019-20 but failed to fall below current levels.

Outperforming sectors included manufacturing, retail, health and social services, and arts and entertainment, all of which had gender pay gaps below the national average.