NEWS
15/03/2018 18:03 GMT | Updated 16/03/2018 10:59 GMT

HSBC Reveals Female Staff In Britain Earn Almost 60% Less Than Men

Pay gap makes bank one of the worst offenders in Britain.

HSBC has unveiled a 60% gulf between women and men’s pay making it one of the worst offenders in the industry in the UK.

Figures from Europe’s biggest bank on Thursday showed a gap in average hourly pay of 59% last year, the biggest yet disclosed by a British bank.

The gap was even more stark when focusing on bonuses. On this measure, awards handed to male workers were 86% higher than those handed out to women.

HSBC’s median gender pay - which takes the middle number from a list of the lowest and highest values -  is 29% and its median gap for bonuses is 61%.

The 29% figure is more than double the 14.2% reported by Barclays for its UK retail banking operations for 2017, but lower than Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) 36.5% and Lloyds Banking Group 32.8%.

PA Wire/PA Images
HSBC has unveiled an almost 60% gulf between women and men’s pay

In January the Financial Times reported that Research Now, an online market research company based in Texas, had the largest gender pay gap recorded by the UK Government. 

It had a 94% difference between median pay for male and female staff in the UK.

Speaking about the results, HSBC said it had fewer females in senior roles despite women accounting for 54% of its total UK workforce. Only 23% of the bank’s top brass in the UK are women.

The lender came under fire shortly after the data was reported, with prominent businesswoman Gina Miller tweeting: “Shame on #HSBC – it is simply taking too long to close the #GenderPayGap.”

Barclays, in February, revealed a 48% pay gap and a 78% bonus gap among its global workforce and a 26% and 60% gap among British staff.

The same month, Asia-focused Standard Chartered reported a gap of 30% in Britain, while Virgin Money - the only major UK lender run by a woman - said its female staff earned on average 32.5% less per hour than its male workforce.

In December, Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banking Group said it would boost minimum salaries at the bank to £17,000 in an effort to reduce its 37% gender pay gap. 

The Bank of England said in November that it had a 21% pay gap and a 24% bonus gap.

Elaine Arden, HSBC’s group head of human resources, said: “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.”

HSBC circulated the information in an internal memo on Thursday ahead of a Government deadline of April 4 when all organisations with 250 staff or more are expected to publish their gender pay gap figures. 

While the Government move is designed to highlight the pay gulf between the sexes, it is different from equal pay which tackles the difference between men and women who carry out the same job.

More than 1,000 organisations have published gender pay gap figures, with Government data showing around three in four are paying male employees more than female colleagues.

Based on median hourly earnings, 74% of companies pay men more than women, while 15% pay women more than men and 11% report no difference.

On Wednesday, ITN revealed women working at the TV company which produces ITV News, Channel 4 News, 5 News and ITN Productions, were paid 19.6% less than male employees. The bonus gap was 77%.

The BBC, who have been engulfed in a gender pay dispute, has a  6.8% gender pay gap. Amongst the 656 lower-profile broadcast journalists the figure is 12.6%.

Separately this week the Guardian News & Media have revealed a 11.3% pay gap, reporting that 65% of its top earners are men.