HSBC’s Gender Pay Gap, the Worst in U.K. Banking, Is Now Even Bigger

(Bloomberg) -- Pay for female staff at HSBC Holdings Plc’s U.K. business fell further behind male colleagues’ in the last year, according to new figures from the London-based bank.

Women at HSBC earned 61 percent less on average compared with male employees at the lender, a wider gap than the 59 percent difference the firm reported a year ago, already the biggest in the banking industry.

By comparison, Lloyds Banking Group Plc most recently reported a 31.5 percent gender pay gap, while Nationwide Building Society reported a 28 percent difference in the average hourly wages paid to men and women. Across sectors, the average in the U.K. is closer to 17 percent, according to the Office for National Statistics.

HSBC had said when it first published its gender pay gap figures for 2017 that the figure for 2018 was likely to be wider. The bank said the large gap was explained by many factors, including an abundance of men in senior leadership roles, the over-representation of women in junior jobs and more women than men opting to work part-time.

In a statement filed with this year’s disclosures, the bank said it would “make appropriate adjustments” if it identified any instance of unequal pay that couldn’t be adequately justified by experience or performance.

HSBC Chief Executive Officer John Flint has signed on to the 30% Club campaign, which calls for 30 percent of senior leadership roles to be held by women by 2020. Women currently account for 23 percent of HSBC’s senior leaders, the bank says.

As of last year, all companies with more than 250 U.K. employees are required to disclose their gender pay gap, calculated as the difference in men’s and women’s average hourly wages. In a separate set of pay transparency reforms, from 2020 they will also be required to report the difference between the highest-paid and average employees in their annual report.

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