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Goldman Sachs Pays Female Staff 56% Less Than Male Colleagues in U.K.

March 16, 2018, 1:48 PM UTC

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. pays female employees in the U.K. an average of 56 percent less than male colleagues, another stark example of the entrenched gender imbalances in the financial-services industry.

The gap widens to 72.2 percent for year-end discretionary bonuses, a spokesman for the Wall Street bank said Friday. The disparity in average pay at Goldman Sachs is narrower than at HSBC Holdings Plc, where females were paid an average 59 percent less than male employees. The national average pay gap is about 18 percent, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The pay gap at Goldman Sachs and other financial firms points to the high concentration of men in senior positions within the industry. Only about 10 to 12 percent of the highest-paid Goldman Sachs partners are women, according to two people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the information is not disclosed publicly. That figure is comparable with other investment banks in the U.K., according to government research from 2016.

Goldman Sachs said it aims to have women make up half its workforce in the future, starting with an even split in its class of college graduates by 2021. The bank didn’t provide a timeline for achieving gender parity.

“We also need to hold ourselves accountable to providing more opportunities for women and diverse professionals to rise to the highest levels of our firm,” Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein and President David Solomon wrote in a memo to staff on Thursday.

While Goldman Sachs is among the first international lenders to disclose its gender pay data, the bank was not among the first to sign up to a U.K. government-backed charter committing financial services firms to fill more senior management positions with women. Today it joined 44 other companies, including UBS Group AG, in signing up. The Charter now covers more than 650,000 financial services employees in the U.K.

The bank has tried several initiatives over the years to increase the number of women among its senior ranks. In 2003, it opened the City of London’s first on-site corporate creche to help working parents. The firm also offers leadership training for aspiring female bankers and allocates time for them to spend with senior leaders for mentoring.

All companies with more than 250 U.K. employees have to disclose their gender pay gaps by April 4. As of Friday, only about 2,400 of an expected 9,000 companies had submitted data to the government website. Among large companies, HSBC, the U.K.’s biggest bank, has so far reported the highest mean gender pay gap, at 59 percent. The privately-owned fashion retailer Phase Eight is higher still, at 64.8 percent.

UBS last week reported an average gender pay gap of 31 percent for its U.K.-based employees. BNP Paribas SA reported an average gap of 38.3 percent.

The biggest U.S.-based banks have yet to report for their British employees, though in recent weeks, they’ve voluntarily published information about their “adjusted” gender pay gaps — a less uniform audit that tries to measure whether their male and female employees are paid equally for equal work.