Women in finance sector face huge pay disparities

Women who work in some of the leading firms in the finance industry earn around 80% less than men in performance-related pay, says an official inquiry by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Plus other news.

Women who work in some of the leading firms in the finance industry earn around 80% less than men in performance-related pay, says an official inquiry by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The report also finds 80% of women start new jobs on lesser salaries than men. The inquiry which questioned 44 top finance firms found one of the main reasons for the performance related pay disparity is the age of people working in the sector. Most are aged 25 to 39, an age when many women are starting their families. Women earned an average of £2,875 in performance-related pay, compared to £14,554 for men.

Less than half of the companies had made any attempt to address the pay gap, although there were some notable examples of good practice identified. The Commission called on the finance sector to change its recruitment practices and promote policies like flexible working. It wants to see companies appoint a board member to push for change and publish equal pay statistics. Harriet Harman, minister for women, backed the report’s recommendations.
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Councils warned to take pre-emptive action on gender pay disparity cases
Local authorities need to identify gender pay disparities and try to resolve the issues before they are taken to court, warns Carol Mills, HR director at Lancashire County Council.

She thinks lawyers will take up the cases on a no win no fees basis. Lancashire, one of the biggest councils in the country, is facing 483 workers going to tribunals over equal pay claims. Most are linked to claims that women were not paid bonuses when men in similar positions were.

Some 9,038 staff have accepted compensation at a cost of £16m, and the council is talking to 222 more who have taken out grievances.

The problem of equal pay discrimination is set to cost local authorities around £1bn in compensation payments, according to Jon Sutcliffe, principle strategic adviser at Local Government Employers. He says 30% of councils face similar action to Lancashire.
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