From 6th April 2017, employers with more than 250 staff were required, by law, to publish the following by the 4th April 2018;
- Gender pay gap (mean and median averages)
- Gender bonus gap (mean and median averages)
- Proportion of men and women receiving bonuses
- Proportion of men and women in each quartile of the organisation’s pay structure
As a result, more than 10,000 large British firms have published details of their gender pay gap, with the finance industry being one of the main culprits when it comes to pay inequality.
It is no secret that women are under-represented in the finance industry, and this under-representation increases as you move up into the more senior roles. Many major banks including JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Barclays and Lloyds Bank all have some of the highest pay gaps in the sector. These revelations show that there is still a lot of work to be done to achieve full equality for women.
So what is being done? We look at some of the initiatives in place to make the finance industry a more equal and balanced place to work.
Women in Finance Charter
After a review into the representation of women in senior management in financial services, the UK Government launched the Women in Finance Charter. The Charter is a commitment to supporting the progression of women into senior roles in the financial services sector.
Companies that put their name to the Charter commit to promoting gender diversity by doing the following:
- Having one member of the senior executive team responsible for gender diversity and inclusion
- Setting internal targets for gender diversity in senior management
- Publish progress reports annually against targets
- Having an intention to ensure the pay of senior executives is linked to the delivery against internal targets on gender diversity
Since its inception, the Women in Finance Charter has seen 205 firms across the financial services sector committing themselves to gender diversity. Over 855 of signatories have committed to have at least 30% of women in senior roles by 2021 and over 25% of firms have committed to a 50/50 gender split in senior roles by 2021. These firms include EY, Deloitte, Mercer, PwC UK, Smith and Williamson and Standard Life Aberdeen PLC.
Has the Charter made a difference? The first Annual Review into the Women in Finance Charter took place in March 2018, and found that 78% of the first group of signatories either increased or maintained the proportion of women in senior management in the reporting period. Since March 2018, there have been 45 new Charter Signatories, including Goldman Sachs International, Aon and Mazars.
You can read the full list of signatories here.
The 30% Club was launched in 2010 and has set out to achieve a minimum of 30% women in the FTSE-350 boards, one third of FTSE350 board positions to be held by women and 30% women at senior management level in FTSE100 companies. They are evidently specific targets, and their aims to bring about this change are just as specific as their main goals. They hope to achieve this target by doing the following:
- Encouraging and supporting chairmen to appoint more women to boards
- Providing information and help for businesses looking to improve their diversity
- Keeping the issue in the public consciousness by engaging in public debate
- Speaking at schools, universities and international women’s events
The 30% Club also have an Investor Group, of which aims to coordinate the investment community’s approach to diversity, a mentorship scheme developed with EY which offers cross-company, cross-sector mentoring to women at every level of their career.
So why 30% and not 50%? Research suggests that once a minority group reaches 30%, their voices become heard in their own right, rather than simply representing a minority. And has it worked? There are currently 27.9% of women on FTSE-100 boards – up from 12.5%, so it’s safe to say that the initiative is working in exactly the way it had planned.
You can read more about the 30% Club and its initiatives, projects and events here.
#PayMeToo is a brand new online campaign that emerged in light of the gender pay gap report deadline. It is a cross-party campaign that has received the backing of several female MPs including Jess Phillips, Stella Creasy and Nicky Morgan.
The campaign aims to give women advice on how to tackle the gender pay gap where they work. The initiative includes encouraging women to join trade unions, set up networks for women within their company and their sector, and to talk openly and honestly about salaries.
While this campaign is still in its infancy, it has already gained traction and is proving to be an effective online tool. You can read more about the #paymetoo campaign at their website.
While there is no denying that there is some way to go in terms of women achieving gender parity in all sectors, particularly the finance sector, there are plenty of positive initiatives and campaigns that are encouraging change.