Bank of England report highlights gender pay gap

The bank’s figures are more in line with the financial industry, which has a pay gap of 30 per cent between the sexes

The Bank of England’s first gender pay gap review has revealed that the hourly rate for female staff is 24 per cent lower on average than that of their male counterparts. In response to the findings, the bank’s governor, Mark Carney, blamed the lack of women in senior positions, which he claimed skewed the findings.

The governor said that while men and women doing the same job were paid equally, an analysis of bonuses revealed that the gender pay gap was even larger. The findings are embarrassing for the bank, since the latest figures show that the gender pay gap shrank to just over nine per cent countrywide – its lowest since records began. This means it has almost halved over the past 20 years.

The bank’s figures are more in line with the financial industry, which has a pay gap of 30 per cent between the sexes. The financial sector is likely to come under greater scrutiny from April next year, when all firms and public organisations with more than 250 employees will have to make public gender pay gap information. Carney said that the bank is working to increase the number of women in senior roles, quoting targeted advertising in job recruitment.

His comments come in the wake of criticism of the bank from the Treasury select committee. Committee chair Nicky Morgan MP said the bank was on the right track, but insisted more work needed to be done before the pay gap between men and women was eradicated.

The central bank, while under pressure to become more diverse, is still finding it difficult to place women in the most senior posts despite the governor’s claim that this is recruitment policy. It also seems to be having difficulty holding on to the few women who occupy these posts.

The current trends in senior positions at the bank, and the background of disparity in the finance world, mean Carney has a hard task on his hands.

The nine-member strong monetary policy committee has just one female member, while the financial policy committee has two more members but no women at all. The Financial Times recently reported that women held just eight of the 67 most senior roles at the bank. If the absence of women in senior roles is the main reason for the gender pay gap disparity, clearly the governor has a long-term problem that needs an urgent fix.

Matters were not helped earlier this year when the bank lost two of its female deputy-governors. Minouche Shafik joined the London School of Economics, while Charlotte Hogg – who replaced her – stepped down after a conflict of interest row. She was replaced by Dave Ramsden, which hardly helped the governor’s numbers game; neither did Carney adviser Jenny Scott leaving the bank in April 2017.

The bank remains ambitious, with Carney still claiming he wants to see a woman governor. This would be a first in its 300-year history.

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