Gender Pay Gap For UK’s Top Graduate Employers Shows Many Pay Women A Third Less Than Men

HSBC and Goldman Sachs fared worst in our analysis of the top 100 graduate employers.
HuffPost UK

Britain’s top graduate employers have been warned they risk losing talented young workers after new gender pay gap data laid bare the disturbing reality of inequality at dozens of firms.

An analysis by HuffPost UK of figures published by private companies and public bodies has revealed many of Britain’s most prestigious graduate employers pay women a third less than their male colleagues, with banks exposed as some of the worst offenders.

HSBC, which has the worst gender pay gap among the UK’s top 100 graduate employers, as ranked by the Times, not only pays male employees an average of 59% more than its female workers, but male staff take home 86% more in bonus pay.

<strong>HSBC has a pay gap of 59%, new data has revealed </strong>
HSBC has a pay gap of 59%, new data has revealed

The data also shows that women at Goldman Sachs International earn just 44p for every £1 their male colleagues take home, while cosmetics brand L’Oreal - which has sold make up to women for decades under the tagline “Because you’re worth it” - has a pay gap of 35.7%.


  1. HSBC - mean pay gap 59%, median pay gap 29%, mean bonus gap 86%, median bonus gap 61%
  2. Goldman Sachs International - mean pay gap 55.5%, median pay gap 36.4%, mean bonus gap 72.2%, median bonus gap 67.7%
  3. Savills UK Ltd - mean pay gap 45%, median pay gap 44%, mean bonus gap 82%, median bonus gap 82%**
  4. Citi*- mean pay gap 44.4%, median pay gap 30.1%, mean bonus gap 67.3%, median bonus gap 67.1%
  5. RBS - mean pay gap 37.2%, median pay gap 36.5%, mean bonus gap 64.4%, median bonus gap 36.6%
  6. Deutsche Bank*- mean pay gap 36.1%, median pay gap 27.6%, mean bonus gap 69.2%, median bonus gap 35.4%
  7. J.P Morgan*- mean pay gap 36%, median pay gap 26%, mean bonus gap 67%, median bonus gap 41%
  8. L’Oréal - mean pay gap 35.7%, median pay gap 32%, mean bonus gap 56.7%, median bonus gap 34.5%
  9. Santander UK group*- mean pay gap 35.3%, median pay gap 29.2%, mean bonus gap 69.1%, median bonus gap 41.2%
  10. Lloyds Banking Group- mean pay gap 32.8%, median pay gap 32.8%, mean bonus gap 65.2%, median bonus gap 53.1%

*Has more than one registered UK company with more than 250 employees and has consolidated gender pay gap data across these.

The Women’s Equality Party said that these employers “must now prove that they are committed to equality”.

“Women at the start of their careers will note with dismay that many of the biggest graduate employers have huge gender pay gaps,” a spokesperson for the party said.

“Firms who fail to take this problem seriously risk losing talented workers to other businesses.”

As well as exposing an overall lack of equality at some of the UK’s most respected graduate employers, the data also reveals that - despite spending thousands of pounds to earn a degree - female university leavers face an uphill battle to one day become top earners alongside their male classmates.

Among the best-paid 25% of workers at Goldman Sachs, a startling 83% are men. At Deutsche Bank, women similarly make up just 17.6% of the firm’s highest earners.

<strong>Careers blog editor Tanya de Grunwald said it's 'the right time' for graduate employers to tackle the gender pay gap </strong>
Careers blog editor Tanya de Grunwald said it's 'the right time' for graduate employers to tackle the gender pay gap

Tanya de Grunwald, founder of graduate careers blog Graduate Fog, said that while many young female job seekers have a “positive, can-do approach” to joining the workforce, “they don’t like any news that reminds them that the odds are stacked against them in any way because of their gender”.

“Gender pay is a huge opportunity for for big employers to do some long-overdue housekeeping on women’s progression within their organisations,” de Grunwald said, commenting on HuffPost’s data.

“Not only is this the right thing to do - and the right time to do it - but once they’ve done that, they can use it as an employer branding tool to attract young women to their organisation.”

Hareem Ghani, Women’s Officer for the National Union of Students, said: “The reality is that there are still many professions where the work of women is not properly recognised or rewarded.

“For those who soon will graduate, this data will serve as a grim reminder that, as we edge towards the 50 year anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, there is still so much more left to be done.”

But not all companies favoured by university leavers have as far to go to eliminate their gender pay gap.


    1. Facebook UK - mean pay gap 0.8%, median pay gap 9.9%, mean bonus gap 39.8%, median bonus gap 41.5%
    2. Unilever* - mean pay gap 1.9%, median pay gap -2.2%, mean bonus gap 27.7%, median bonus gap -38.1%
    3. Mars*- mean pay gap 2.2%, median pay gap 2.5%, mean bonus gap 5.2%, median bonus gap 4.6%
    4. GSK*- mean pay gap 2.81%, median pay gap 0.34%, mean bonus gap 19.63%, median bonus gap -3.24%
    5. McDonald’s Restaurants - mean pay gap 4%, median pay gap 0%, mean bonus gap 57%, median bonus gap 7%
    6. Diageo GB - mean pay gap 4.1%, median pay gap -9.8%, mean bonus gap 23.5%, median bonus gap 12.3%
    7. Apple UK - mean pay gap 5%, median pay gap -2%, mean bonus gap 22%, median bonus gap 12%
    8. Nestle* - mean pay gap 5%, median pay gap 7%, mean bonus gap 8%, median bonus gap -2%
    9. Amazon UK*- mean pay gap 6.1%, median pay gap -0.7%, mean bonus gap 15.9%, median bonus gap 0.0%
    10. Microsoft - mean pay gap 6.6%, median pay gap 8.4%, mean bonus gap 11.2%, median bonus gap 11.4%

*Company has more than one registered UK company with more than 250 employees and has consolidated gender pay gap data across these.

While Facebook UK reported a mean pay gap of just 0.8%, the fact that most of Unilever’s lesser paid manufacturing staff are male means that women take home 38.1% more in bonuses if the median - or middle - figure is calculated.

Meanwhile, Mars was revealed to have a mean bonus gap of just 5%.

But Sam Smethers, chief executive of women’s rights charity the Fawcett Society, said the new data forces employers to ask “some hard questions”.

“Gender pay gap reporting is a game changer in terms of workplace culture and practices,” she said.

“Finally women are realising that they have a right to talk about pay and they cannot be silenced. By finding out what their colleagues earn they are then in a position to challenge any pay inequality.”

<strong>Theresa May has vowed to tackle the 'burning injustice' of the gender pay gap </strong>
Theresa May has vowed to tackle the 'burning injustice' of the gender pay gap
PA Wire/PA Images

While public bodies were required to submit their gender pay gap figures by March 30 as part of the government’s attempt to tackle pay inequality, private companies have just hours left until the deadline runs out on Wednesday.

Firms who do not provide their figures will face legal action including court orders and fines, but only after they have been given a month’s grace to report the figures.

Courts can impose an unlimited fine on those who do not comply. However, only companies with 250 employees or more are required to publish the data.

Writing in The Telegraph this morning, the day of the deadline, Theresa May vowed to tackle the “burning injustice” of the UK’s gender pay gap.

“A hundred years ago, some women first won the right to vote,” the Prime Minister wrote.

“But for all the welcome progress in the decades since, major injustices still hold too many women back.

“We need to act if we are to close the gap for good within a generation,” May added.

Data published as part of the scheme has revealed some shocking results. While Ryanair was forced to reveal a 67% gender pay gap, with women making up just 3% of its top-paid staff, figures have shown that nine out of 10 public sector organisations pay men more than women.

How we calculated the top graduate employers

Using The Times’ list of 100 top graduate employers, HuffPost UK ranked companies based on their mean gender pay gap - the gap between men’s and women’s salaries when every single employees wages are added together and divided by the number of workers.

However, when ranking firms with the smallest gender pay gap, only those whose workforce was made up by at least 15% women at each quartile were considered in order to avoid bias.

For example, while Airbus Operations technically has a gender pay gap of just 2.3%, this is swayed by the fact that just 8.5% of its total UK workforce is female.

** This entry has been updated to reflect pay gap data released after the publication of this article.

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