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Citi say diversity is a competitive advantage…

Citi say diversity is a competitive advantage…

Mark.Freed / 05 Feb 2020

Understanding the gender pay gap

I recently read this article on Bloomberg, which talked about Citibank in Singapore adjusting the pay of their female staff to bring it in line with men doing the same work. My first thought was to celebrate – after all, it’s a positive change.

Then I remembered that the equal pay act came into force 50 years ago in the UK (and nearly 60 years ago in the US). This made it illegal to pay men and women differently for doing the same work.  And, at that point, I was quite disappointed that a global bank has maintained the practice in countries that don’t offer the same legal protections to women. 

(As an aside, if you are a woman and believe you are paid less than the man sitting next to you doing the same job, you may find this guide helpful. It’s published by the UK based #metoopay movement.) 

I also find it disappointing that leading industry commentators (such as Bloomberg) are still struggling to get to grips with the important difference between equal pay and the gender pay gap. Particularly as there are some great resources available to help.

The UK Government Equalities Office, for example, have published a guide to understanding the gender pay gap. This explains that the gender pay gap is the difference in the average hourly wage of all men and women across a workforce. So, if women do more of the lower-paid jobs within an organisation than men, the gender pay gap will be bigger.

Across Citi Group Global Markets in the UK in April 2018 women earn 62p for every £1 that men earned. By any reasonable measure, that’s not great.

What makes it even worse is that the firm is going backwards, as last year’s figure was 64p for every £1 that men earn. On top of that, the figures exclude bonuses. If they didn’t, the gap would be even wider, as women’s bonuses were only 26p for every £1 the men received. (You can read more here.)

The heart of the problem is shown by another reporting statistic. Only 11% of the top-quartile wage earners in the firm are women.

Citi say they believe diversity is a competitive advantage that drives better outcomes for their clients. I can only assume their client outcomes are pretty poor at the moment…



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