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Women in London's financial sector expect lower bonuses than men: survey

Monday, December 14, 2015 - 08:15
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Women working in financial services in London have much lower expectations for their annual bonuses than their male colleagues, reflecting the fact that they are less well represented in more lucrative jobs, a survey has found.

[LONDON] Women working in financial services in London have much lower expectations for their annual bonuses than their male colleagues, reflecting the fact that they are less well represented in more lucrative jobs, a survey has found.

Women surveyed by recruitment firm Astbury Marsden expected on average to receive a bonus this year of just over 16,000 pounds (S$34,391), or 21 per cent of their salary, while men anticipated bonuses of 33,000 pounds, or 34 per cent. "The reality is that the sectors where there is a high reward culture are still male-dominated with women often making up a larger proportion of the non-commission earning side of businesses such as HR or marketing," said Adam Jackson, managing director at Astbury Marsden. "Trading floors ... have a reputation for being largely a male environment and many women can be put off from applying to these types of roles," he said.

The survey also found that the gap in expectations was present at senior levels, with female directors and executive directors expecting bonuses half the size of those anticipated by their male counterparts.

The finding suggested that women's perceptions of their own value as well as their representation in different types of jobs were both factors.

The survey comes at a time when the British government is trying to improve productivity, one of the problem areas in the economy, through various means including by raising female participation in the workforce.

According to an OECD estimate, gender equality in the labour market could increase British GDP by 10 per cent by 2030.

London is one of the main financial centres in the world and evidence suggests that the picture is similar elsewhere, with women under-represented and paid less than men in financial services globally.

Only 13 per cent of executive committee members and 4 per cent of CEOs at 150 of the world's major financial institutions are women, according to a 2014 report by consultancy Oliver Wyman.

However, the Astbury Marsden survey also found that women on average obtain higher pay rises than men when being promoted or moving jobs.

Female workers in finance receive pay rises of 23 per cent of their salary when changing jobs compared with an average of 17 per cent for men, and 21 per cent when they receive a promotion compared with 19 per cent for men.

Astbury Marsden did not offer an explanation for that finding.

A government report into women in finance, led by Virgin Money Chief Executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia, recommended in November that bonuses paid to executives at financial services companies in Britain should depend on the number of women employed in senior roles.

In October, the government announced plans to force large employers to publish details of how much they pay men compared with women as part of its efforts to "end the gender pay gap in a generation".

On average a woman in Britain earns 0.8 pound for every one pound earned by a man, according to official data.

REUTERS

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