Women make up just 15% of top-paid staff in City of London banks

The British government data is a reminder of how the best-paid parts of finance remain particularly male-dominated. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) - London's investment banks are struggling to shrink the gender pay gap, with women making up less than a fifth of top earners.

Female bankers made up on average just 15.5 per cent of the top quarter of earners at a sample of 10 securities units in the City of London, according to government data compiled as at April 5 last year. That is up only slightly from 2020's average of 14.9 per cent.

That proportion is worse than the broader finance industry's 20.5 per cent, according to a Bloomberg News analysis of filings submitted to the British government. It is a reminder of how the best-paid parts of finance remain particularly male-dominated.

Morgan Stanley & Co International had the lowest proportion of women in the highest pay quartile, at 10.9 per cent. Goldman Sachs International had the highest, with 22.4 per cent. The picture is complicated by some companies reporting separate data for subsidiaries. J.P. Morgan Securities, for example, has 15.4 per cent women in the top pay bracket, compared with 30.2 per cent in J.P. Morgan Europe.

The shortfall is stark even when examining median wages at the 10 units - an approach that strips out the impact of the highest earners. Under that measure, female workers across the lenders face an hourly pay shortfall of 34 per cent, down from 35 per cent a year earlier.

There is an average 44.1 per cent difference between male and female hourly wages, compared with 44.5 per cent reported the previous year. That means women earned about 56 pence (S$1) for every pound that men earned on average per hour.

Gender pay gap reporting became mandatory in the Britain in 2017 and has provided an insight into how far women's earnings lag behind those of men. The differential has barely changed in the five years since.

The data also provides a look at how the Covid-19 pandemic may have hindered pay equality. Lockdowns put women and other underrepresented groups at greater risk of career setbacks and unemployment in part because they were more likely to quit their jobs to care for children.

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