Goldman is making its huge UK gender pay gap worse with how it awards bonuses

Goldman has a long way to go.
Goldman has a long way to go.
Image: Reuters/David Gray
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Goldman Sachs, the alpha dog of the global finance industry, is also one of its biggest scofflaws when it comes to gender equality, at least in its London office.

In the UK, Goldman pays women 36% less than men based on median salaries, and 56% less than men on average. (The mean is skewed by the enormous compensation of some bankers, which pulls up the average.)

As if to add insult to injury, median bonus pay—the money Goldman managers dole out annually based performance—was 68% higher for men, according to newly released data.

In a statement on March 15, CEO Lloyd Blankfein and president David Solomon said the investment bank pays men and women who perform the same jobs equal wages, but there are far fewer women in senior positions.

“The real issue for our firm and many corporations is the under-representation of women and diverse professionals both in magnitude and levels of seniority,” they wrote. “We have made some progress, but we have significant work to do, and we, as leaders of our firm, are committed to doing this critical work.”

The bank says it aims to have gender parity in its workforce and, as a first step, has a goal of hiring equal numbers of men and women for its entry-level analyst position in 2021. But it will have a long way to go after that: Women make up just 15% of Goldman’s 450 partners, the firm’s inner circle, and as a result comprise only 17% of its top quartile of earners, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall).

Goldman didn’t disclose the numbers out of a sudden crisis of conscience. Rather, it was forced to by the UK government, which is requiring all large employers to divulge their gender pay gap figures. Among banks, Goldman isn’t the worst—so far, that distinction is held by HSBC, with a 59% average pay gap—but rivals like Barclays, Lloyds, and Royal Bank of Scotland have reported smaller gulfs.

This story is part of How We’ll Win, a project exploring the fight for gender equality at work. Read more stories here.