PwC Bans All-Male Shortlists for Senior Roles in UK

PwC Bans All-Male Shortlists for Senior Roles in UK

The accounting firm PwC has adopted a new rule in the UK whereby shortlists of candidates for senior roles must include at least one woman, the Daily Mail reported on Sunday:

Laura Hinton, chief people officer at PwC, said: ‘Diversity in our recruitment processes is something we’ve been focused on for some time and as part of this we are ensuring we have no all-male shortlists and more diverse interviewing panels.’

PwC, which specialises in tax and advisory services, recently set a target to recruit 50 per cent women and 50 per cent men in all of their recruitment drives. The firm also has a sizeable 35.9 per cent pay gap for its Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) employees. The move comes as it emerged that the three other companies which make up the Big Four – Deloitte, KPMG and EY – had all called for greater diversity on their candidate lists.

PwC and its competitors all released their UK gender pay gap data in March in line with a law requiring most organizations in that country to do so. These firms’ partnership structures starkly illustrated the degree to which the underrepresentation of women in leadership roles compounds the gender pay gap.: PwC reported a mean gender pay gap of 43.8 percent and a median gap of 18.7 percent when partners were included, whereas the mean gap for employees of PwC Services Ltd., the legal entity that employs most of the company’s UK workforce, was just 12 percent.

Overall, the 61.4 of the roles in the top quartile of the firm are occupied by men, the report showed. Absent the underrepresentation of women in senior roles, PwC said its overall UK pay gap would be as low as 2.9 percent—a difference that “can largely be explained by time in role and skill set factors.”

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How Do We Close the Gender Pay Gap?

How Do We Close the Gender Pay Gap?

Equal Pay Day is a symbolic event that highlights the pay gap between men and women in the US. Equal Pay Day is held on a Tuesday, representing how far into the next week the average woman has to work to earn what the average man earned the week prior, and in early April to represent how much farther into this year she needs to work to earn as much as he did last year. While individual studies differ slightly, nearly all of them calculate the overall US gender pay gap at around 20 percent, meaning women earn roughly 80 cents to every man’s dollar. (It bears mentioning that these figures are significantly worse for women of color.)

To a significant extent, this gap reflects women being offered lower salaries than men for the same or similar work. Fast Company’s Lydia Dishman points to some recent research by Hired that suggests women are often being lowballed:

The majority (63%) of the time in the U.S., men are offered higher salaries than women for the same role at the same company, according to wage gap data and survey responses compiled by Hired. On average, these companies offer women 4% less than men for the same role, with some offering women up to 45% less. These numbers are likely due to unconscious bias, inconsistent pay practices, and paying new hires based on what they made in their previous role. “Our data found that 66% of the time, women are asking for less money–6% less on average–than men for the same role at the same company,” says Kelli Dragovich, senior vice president of people at Hired. Undervaluing themselves is part of the reason, she says, as 50% of female survey respondents said they experienced impostor syndrome most of the time.

However, even companies that pay men and women equally for equal work still have pay gaps, because women are often concentrated in professions with lower earning potential. Our recent research at CEB, now Gartner, finds that these group-to-group gaps account for most of the global gender pay gap of 27 percent, although 7.4 percentage points remain unexplained by factors like size, industry, geography, education, or experience.

The main cause of this larger pay gap is the sorting of women into lower-paying roles, or occupational segregation, Maggie Koerth-Baker explains at FiveThirtyEight. That doesn’t mean women are choosing to earn less money, however, and “the fact that certain industries are dominated by men or women — and that the men’s jobs pay more — has never just been about what qualifications an individual did or didn’t have, or how tough the job was to do”:

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More than 3 in 4 UK Companies Pay Men More than Women, Gender Pay Gap Reports Show

More than 3 in 4 UK Companies Pay Men More than Women, Gender Pay Gap Reports Show

The deadline for UK companies with at least 250 employees to publish their gender pay gaps arrived on Wednesday. According to the BBC, more than 10,000 companies in total submitted their data, 1,000 of them waiting until the last day to do so. Overall, the median pay gap among those reporting stood at 9.7 percent, with 78 percent of firms paying men more than women, 14 percent paying women more, and 8 percent reporting no pay gap at all. An analysis in January had predicted that a significant number of companies would ultimately miss the deadline, and indeed, hundreds have failed to report, Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, told the BBC:

“We’re looking at approximately 1,500 companies which haven’t reported,” she told the BBC. “We’re obviously pleased with the rate of reporting, but it is the law, it’s not an option. It is the right thing to do, and we will be enforcing against all those organisations which failed to meet the deadline.”

In practice, this would mean a statutory investigation process, she said. The EHRC will be sending letters to all of those organisations on Monday. They will then have 28 days to respond. Terms of reference will then be issued for the enforcement process, which will be made public. “This is going to be a very public affair. It will impact quite considerably on members of the public, people who work for them, and you’ll see a growing backlash against people who aren’t complying,” she said.

The EHRC had previously warned that organizations face “unlimited fines” for failing to comply with the gender pay gap reporting law. The more effective punishment, however, may be the “very public affair” Hilsenrath is promising. Senior British professionals indicated in a survey late last year that they believed revelations of large gender pay gaps would hurt companies’ reputations and cause them to lose employees, with more than a third saying they thought this issue would be even more reputationally damaging than corporate tax avoidance.

At CEB, now Gartner, our latest research into pay equity finds that perceptions of pay inequality can be just as harmful to employee retention as pay inequities in fact—and the perceptions tend to be even worse than the facts.

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Goldman Sachs Faces Class Action Suit Over Alleged Gender Discrimination

Goldman Sachs Faces Class Action Suit Over Alleged Gender Discrimination

Goldman Sachs has joined the ranks of high-profile employers hit with major litigation over allegations of gender bias in pay, promotions, and performance reviews. On Friday, a federal judge in New York certified the eight-year-old case as a class action lawsuit, ruling that women who believed the investment bank had discriminated against them on the basis of their gender could pursue their claims as a group, Reuters reported.

US District Judge Analisa Torres ruled that employees and former employees could participate in the suit if they had worked as associates or vice presidents in Goldman’s investment banking, investment management, and securities divisions since September 2004, or since July 2002 for employees in New York City. Plaintiffs’ attorney Kelly Dermody told Reuters that the certified class encompassed an estimated 2,000 people.

This lawsuit is one of several brought against major financial firms over the past decade alleging gender discrimination in this male-dominated sector, where women make up about half the workforce but only a quarter of senior-level positions. Gender pay data from the UK shows that the world’s leading banks have substantial gender pay gaps, owing to the much lower representation of women in senior roles with higher earning and bonus potential—a deliberate imbalance, the litigants in these suits claim. A study last year also found that women in finance are routinely punished more harshly than their male colleagues for misconduct, even when that misconduct is less costly and less likely to be repeated.

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UK Banks’ Gender Pay Data Shows Impact of Leadership Gap

UK Banks’ Gender Pay Data Shows Impact of Leadership Gap

Several major financial institutions in the UK have submitted their gender pay gap figures to the government in recent weeks in compliance with the law requiring them to do so by April 4. The data illustrate just how far the sector has still to go if it intends to achieve gender parity in earnings and career progression. The most recent bank to release its pay information is HSBC, which on Thursday reported a median pay gap of 29 percent and a mean gap of 59 percent based on hourly pay in 2017, the BBC reports. The bank also a median gap of 61 percent for bonus payments.

HSBC says these discrepancies are due not to pay discrimination, but rather to the underrepresentation of women in its leadership:

HSBC said its pay gap was largely down to the fact it – like its rivals – has fewer women in senior roles, with just 23% of higher positions held by women. Across the whole organisation, however, 54% of its workforce is female. HSBC has a target to try to improve its gender balance and aims to have 30% of senior roles held by women by 2020.

Barclays, meanwhile, revealed a median hourly pay gap of 43.5 percent, the BBC reported last month, greater than all but 28 of the 1,154 companies that had published their data so far. Lloyds Banking Group and the Royal Bank of Scotland reported average gaps of 33 percent and 37 percent, respectively, Bloomberg reported, highlighting that these wide gaps also reflected a dearth of women in senior roles—an imbalance the banks said they were committed to addressing:

The gender pay gap “is not where we want to be,” RBS Chief Executive Officer Ross McEwan, said in a call to reporters Friday. “We need to have more females in senior roles and we set some ambitious targets in the next three years to improve it and that’s what affects the gender pay gap.” Men make up about 70 percent of the employees in RBS highest-paid quartile, mirroring the proportion of women in the bank’s lowest-paid quartile. … Lloyds said Friday that its bonus gender gap was around 65 percent.

That the financial sector suffers from significant gender gap is not new: It’s one of the reasons why London’s overall gender pay gap is higher than any other region of the UK. Common among these firms is the concentration of women in lower-ranking roles with less bonus potential than their mostly male superiors.

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American Express Says No Gender Bias in Pay, Will Report Data This Year

American Express Says No Gender Bias in Pay, Will Report Data This Year

American Express has joined the ranks of major US financial firms pledging to identify and close gender-based pay disparities within their workforce in response to pressure from the activist investor Arjuna Capital. On Wednesday, the credit card company told employees that its most recent pay analysis, conducting with a third-party consultant, “found no evidence of bias in our compensation processes and indicated we were effectively at parity,” Bloomberg reports. The company also told Arjuna that it would report any findings on pay disparities to its shareholders by the end of 2018:

“Women are still 20 percent more likely to leave a career in finance than any other industry — that’s bad for business and it’s bad for investors,” said Arjuna Capital managing partner Natasha Lamb, who filed a shareholder proposal seeking the pay disclosure at American Express and eight other companies this year. Calling equal pay “a critical first step” to retaining top talent, Arjuna withdrew its proposal in response to AmEx’s pledge.

In her withdrawal letter, Lamb said AmEx’s review will include base, bonus and equity compensation, and the company will adjust pay to get to 100 percent equality. It will also disclose its methodology, according to Lamb.

Bloomberg has compiled data showing that women make up 50 percent of American Express’s workforce but just 30 percent of its management.

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Washington State Lawmakers Pass Gender Pay Equity Bill

Washington State Lawmakers Pass Gender Pay Equity Bill

On the eve of International Women’s Day, observed today, the Washington state legislature passed a landmark bill on Wednesday to introduce new statutory protections for employees designed to help close gender wage gaps and ensure equitable opportunities for men and women in the workplace. GeekWire’s Monica Nickelsburg has the details:

The bill updates Washington’s existing gender pay law for the first time since it was enacted in 1943. It forbids employers from instituting policies that don’t allow workers to discuss their salaries with one another. The new bill also requires employers to provide the same career advancement opportunities to all employees in comparable positions, regardless of gender.

Washington state Rep. Tana Senn sponsored the bill and worked on its language with the technology industry. She lauded support from the Washington Technology Industry Association, Moz CEO Sara Bird, and others. Senn said Microsoft had some reservations about the section of the bill pertaining to career advancement opportunities, but the company was “very actively engaged in working with us on language around that and we got to a great place.”

The Seattle area, home to a number of major tech companies including Microsoft and Amazon, has one of the largest gender pay gaps in the country, Nickelsburg adds, pointing to a study last year by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research showing that women working in King County earn 78.6 cents to every man’s dollar.

Some businesses and lobbying groups in Washington, including Amazon, had pressed the legislature to include a provision in the bill that would preempt local governments from instituting their own gender equity laws beyond what the state would require, Heidi Groover reports at the Stranger:

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