HSBC pay gap reveals men being paid twice as much as women

Men are paid two and a half times more per hour than women on average at banking group HSBC, the largest gender pay gap reported to date by a major UK company.

The gender pay report from the UK’s largest bank, published on Thursday, reveals that less than a quarter of its most senior staff are female, while more than two-thirds of those in junior roles are women.

That disparity means HSBC Bank’s pay gap is 60% in 2018 according to the mean average measure, which is calculated by taking all male and female wages and dividing them by the number of workers. The group’s report reveals the gap has increased from 59% last year.

The gender pay gap refers to the difference in hourly earnings between men and women working for an organisation regardless of their roles, rather than men and women in the same role.

Under a new government scheme, all companies with more than 250 employees must report their pay gap under an initiative designed to reveal the greater prevalence of men in top-paying jobs and encourage action for change.

HSBC said that it had increased the proportion of senior posts held by women to nearly 27% last year from 22% in 2012, but added: “We recognise that that there is more work to do to address our gender balance at senior levels.”

The median gap, which takes the mid-point when all wage rates are lined up from the biggest to smallest as a way to reduce the impact of one-off outliers, remained steady at 29%.

That compares to a 43.5% median gap at the Barclays International banking group, a 32.8% gap at Lloyds and a 22.6% gap at the Co-Operative Bank. On a mean basis the gaps were 48%, 32.8% and 30.3%.

HSBC said it wants women to hold 30% of senior roles by 2020 and it would request gender diverse shortlists when hiring new leaders and would ensure gender balance in its workforce development programmes.

It has also expanded opportunities for mentoring for women in well-paid global banking and markets roles and said it was encouraging flexible working and shared parental leave.

It said it was “confident in its approach to pay” and if it identified pay differences between men and women in similar roles which could not be explained by performance or experience, it made “appropriate adjustments”.

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

All private and public sector organisations and charities with more than 250 employees are required to submit their pay figures to the government by April under the new scheme. About 2,250 have filed figures so far, but the legislation is expected to affect about 9,000 companies, which collectively employ more than 15 million people.

EasyJet and Virgin Money are among those that have revealed a gap of more than 30% in the mean hourly pay rates between male and female workers.

On Thursday, British luxury brand Burberry revealed that its female staff earned an average 25.9% less per hour, despite making up the majority of employees at every pay quartile. The company said the disparity was the result of employing more men than women in senior roles immediately below its executive team.

Marco Gobbetti, chief executive of Burberry said: “With women making up 70% of our 3,500 employees in the UK, we are committed to narrowing this gap as we work to develop more women leaders to drive the growth and success of our business.”

Until Thursday, the travel group Tui held the dubious crown for the largest gender pay gap reported by a major UK company under the new scheme. Its male employees paid more than double the female staff.

Women at the group’s Tui Airways UK unit earn on average 56.9% less in hourly pay. The company said the gap stemmed from low representation of women in highly paid roles such as pilots, engineering, technology and senior management.