The U.K. finance sector made minimal headway in closing the gender pay gap last year, with some banks stalling — or even undoing — progress by paying women less than two thirds of men’s earnings, new data shows.
Britain’s finance industry had an average gender pay gap of 22.7% in 2022-23, only marginally below the 23% reported in 2021-22, according to filings published on the government’s Gender Pay Gap Service site.
Under U.K. law, companies, charities and public sector departments with 250 employees or more have had to publish annual gender pay gap figures since 2017.
The finance sector reported the nation’s second-widest average gender pay gap last year, ranking just behind the 23.2% of the education sector.
Banks had the greatest gap among larger finance companies, according to a CNBC analysis.
How banks stack up
HSBC Bank PLC had the largest gender pay gap among reporting U.K. banks, with women’s median hourly pay coming in 51.1% lower than that of men — compared with 29% in 2017-18.
Within its ringfenced U.K. unit, HSBC UK Bank PLC — which now has a comparably larger workforce — the gap was 20.3%.
At Barclays Bank PLC, women’s reported hourly pay came in 35% lower than that of men. In its ring-fenced U.K. unit, Barclays Bank UK PLC, women were paid 14.8% less.
Lloyds Banking Group’s gap came in similarly high at 34.8%. At NatWest, women earned 31.6% less than men did, based on their median hourly pay. Meanwhile, at Standard Chartered Bank, women’s pay was 24.8% lower.
At Morgan Stanley UK Limited the gap was 18.7%, while at Morgan Stanley & Co. International PLC it was 36.1%. Within 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 U.K. operations.
In statements published alongside their filings, the banks indicated that a lack of women in senior positions had added to the gaps.
Most industries failing to close the gap
The U.K. gender pay gap remains stubbornly entrenched, despite ongoing calls to reduce gender inequality and numerous studies highlighting the economic benefits of doing so.
Across all sectors, as many as eight in 10 U.K. employers paid men more on average than they did women, according to BBC analysis of the data.
In 2023-23, the median gender pay gap across all reporting firms was 9.4% — the same level as in 2017-18, when mandatory pay gap reporting began.
The gap rose to 10.5% briefly in 2019-20, but has failed to fall below current levels.
Among the better performing sectors were manufacturing, retail, health and social care, and arts and entertainment, all of which had median gender pay gaps below the national average.