The biggest gender pay gap yet for a UK bank has been reported by HSBC

It’s a man’s world.
It’s a man’s world.
Image: Reuters/Toby Melville
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HSBC, the UK’s largest bank, said today that it also has the largest gender pay gap among large banks. Women are paid a staggering 59% less than men, on average, according to the difference in hourly pay in 2017.

The figures are for HSBC Bank, the group’s biggest UK entity, which employs more than 23,500 people. The bank said the gap, which is expected to increase to 60% this year, is due to the fact that more than half of the bank’s staff are women, but they make up just 23% of senior leadership roles. Meanwhile, women hold 67% of the bank’s junior roles. Like many other financial firms, HSBC argues that equal pay isn’t the problem, it’s the distribution of women in the company’s hierarchy.

The bank’s median gender pay gap is 29%, which was not the worst in the industry, but still more than three times the UK average. (The median pay gap in the UK was 9.1% last year, according to the Office for National Statistics.) At HSBC, the disparity between the mean and median pay gaps is further evidence of how few women there are in higher paid positions.

The UK government requires all companies with more than 250 employees in the UK to disclose gender pay gaps by April 4. Of the 2,300 companies that have reported thus far, the financial services industry has revealed some of the biggest pay gaps. For example, last month, Barclays said that women in its investment bank division earn on average 48% less than men.