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HSBC reveals 60% gender pay gap

  • 16/03/2018
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HSBC reveals 60% gender pay gap
HSBC has revealed a gender pay gap that puts it at the worst of all financial services firms to have reported so far this year and is the fourth highest throughout the country.


The lender has six businesses reporting and all see women paid at least 31% less than men (by mean average) while the median difference ranges between 24% and 42%.

It is the main bank itself, HSBC Bank plc, which is the worst offender with a mean gap of 60% and a median gap of 29%. It employs 23,507 people in the UK.

HSBC has also included the results of the joint venture with retailer Marks and Spencer, Marks and Spencer Financial Services, where the mean gap is 11% and the median just 3%. (See graph below for full results.)

In the bank’s gender pay gap report, HSBC group head of human resources Elaine Arden said: “Our analysis shows that, in the UK, men and women are paid broadly comparable rates to market.

“We are confident in our approach to pay and if we identify any pay differences between men and women in similar roles, which cannot be explained by reasons such as performance, behaviour rating, or experience, we make appropriate adjustments.”


Women’s roles

As with much of financial services, the most noticeable differences come from structural issues around the roles women are employed in.

While female employees account for 54% of HSBC’s overall workforce in the UK, just 23% of senior leadership positions are currently held by women.

In contrast, two-thirds of HSBC’s UK employees in junior roles – where pay and bonuses are lower – are female.

It also noted that a higher proportion of female employees were working on part-time hours, with employees who work part-time receiving their bonuses on a pro rata basis.

However, the calculation for the gender bonus gap does not allow any adjustment to bring these bonuses back to their full-time equivalent level.

“While we encourage both men and women to work flexibly, the majority of those currently doing so are women,” the bank said.




Taking action

HSBC’s gender pay gap report also listed a range of actions it is taking to help improve gender diversity throughout the organisation.

Group chief executive John Flint has signed up to the 30% Club campaign with an aspirational target for 30% of senior leadership roles to be filled by women by 2020.

In 2012 women held 22% of global senior leadership roles. In the five years since this increased to 26.8% in 2017.

It is also focusing on developing female talent to strengthen the leadership pipeline, for example with a gender-balanced intake of graduate talent in the UK and balanced representation in talent development programmes for high potential employees.

And it has a range of policies supporting families, flexibility and retaining female talent such as parental leave coaching, promoting shared parental leave and sabbatical policies and flexible working.

“Improving the gender balance across businesses and levels of seniority is a priority and something to which the group management board is committed,” Arden continued.

“We are making progress. Improving our gender balance will take time and require sustained focus over the long-term.”

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