Financial services inches towards gender pay parity


Recruitment consultants Bruin Financial found the gap between base salaries of men and women working in finance and accounting, compliance, risk and other support services within UK-based investment banks and asset managers narrowed from 20.8% in September 2015 to 9.6% in August 2016.

According to the Bruin’s most recent figures, published on September 20, men earned an average base wage of £69,000 in 2015, which decreased to £63,00 over the period, while women’s 2015 average of £54,000 rose to £57,000.

It also found the ratio of women securing a job in the back and middle offices of investment banks and asset managers had increased from 38.9% of candidates interviewed in 2015 to 53% in August 2016.

Robert Thesiger, CEO of The Fiser Group, the parent company of Bruin Financial, said the findings reflected “a genuine commitment to gender parity” and that financial institutions had “made significant strides both in their candidate attraction strategies and their hiring process”.

Still work to do

Bruin’s Women in Financial Institutions Index tracks around 2,500 back and middle office-workers to determine the salary gap between male and female employees, pay increases for those moving jobs, and the gender of candidates getting interviews and securing roles.

Although the gap in salaries “narrowed slightly”, Bruin said there was still work to do, noting that the women tracked by the WiFI index had seen “very little increase” in base salaries year-on-year. Men were also found to be more likely to achieve a greater increase in salary when moving jobs.

Sandra Ondraschek-Norris, a senior director at gender diversity lobby group Catalyst, said that while these latest findings show that it is narrowing, that gap “remains significant”.

She added: “There needs to be consistent communication from senior leaders that a pay gap – and the broader gender gap – is unacceptable in 2016. And this must be backed up with clear tangible actions that help build fair and inclusive workplace cultures.”

Thesiger said: “It is crucial that [efforts to achieve gender parity] remains a priority and financial institutions don’t take their eye off the ball.”

The latest UK government measure designed to incite businesses to pay attention to gender parity will come into force on October 1. It will require UK companies with more than 250 employees to publish the average salaries and bonuses of their male and female employees, with pay gap league tables set to follow in April 2018.

Companies will have to post the information on their websites and update it every year, with senior executives expected to sign it off personally.

Thesiger said the upcoming legislation would leave large organisations with “very little room to hide”.

Bruin’s report follows news that flexible working arrangements were growing in popularity in the City. A poll of about 900 staff at investment banks, fund managers and other City employers carried out by recruitment firm Astbury Marsden earlier in September, found remote working had increased from about 50% in 2015 and 2014 to around 60% in 2016. The poll found four in 10 female City staff can now work flexible hours, while more than a third of men also now have this option.

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