British companies outed in gender pay gap report

HSBC, Europe's largest bank, has reported the largest difference in male and female staff salaries among large organizations in Britain, as the government looks to pressure big companies in financial services and other sectors to reduce gender pay disparities.
April 6, 2018

Transcript

A spotlight has been thrown on Britain's glass ceiling after all the U.K.'s biggest companies raced to meet a midnight deadline April 4 to publish their gender pay gaps.

The results pointed to Europe's largest bank HSBC reported the biggest difference in male and female salaries at 59 per cent.

Next was Virgin Atlantic, then Barclays.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) UNIDENTIFIED FINANCIAL SERVICES WORKER, SAYING:

"It's everywhere. It's everywhere. I really can't recall an industry which doesn't have this kind of gap."

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FINANCIAL SERVICES TECHNOLOGY WORKER, LAURA, SAYING:

"It's about empowering women to be able to rise up the ranks within those organizations. And I think in doing that then we get more equality."

Barclays admitted it has more work to do for women to progress at the company.

Virgin Atlantic said the gap reflected a relatively low number of female pilots.

HSBC said it was already confident in its approach to pay.

Reuters analyzed new figures from just under 500 companies. The average pay gap was 15.5 per cent and an underwhelming three per cent of them paid women more than men.

But because firms don't have to break down their data, critics say figures could obscure or exaggerate demographic explanations for gaps.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FIDELITY INTERNATIONAL, INVESTMENT DIRECTOR, TOM STEVENSON, SAYING:

"If there is a pay gap it's not saying that a company is paying women less for the same job. What it's saying is that that company employs more lower-paid women and its higher-paid jobs are held by men. That doesn't mean that the company doesn't have a problem. But it's important to understand exactly what it's telling us."

Other countries will follow suit — including Australia and Germany.

The British government hopes it will highlight gender discrimination and force companies into action.

— Rosanna Philpott