FCA: There is no room for complacency on gender pay

Percentage of women in senior roles at the regulator is unchanged from 2016

Financial Conduct Authority

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has marginally reduced its gender pay gap in 2018 as it eyes up an ambitious target to have 50% of its senior leadership team identify as female in less than a decade.

Year-on-year, the mean pay gap at the FCA decreased by 0.8% from 19.3% to 18.5% though the overall median increased slightly by 0.3% to 21.2%.

The mean bonus gap between men and women rose 1.17%, despite the fact that more female employees received a bonus than their male counterparts (84% of women versus 77% of men).

The median bonus gap was also about 1% higher.

It said the mean and median pay figures are based on a snapshot of male and female salaries taken on 31 March 2018. The bonus gap was calculated using the gross bonus paid in the period from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018.

Growth of women in senior management still flat

The data, released on International Men’s Day, is the third such gender pay gap report from the FCA since it signed up to the Women in Finance Charter in June 2016.

Since 2017 all employers in the UK with more than 250 staff have been required by law to disclose their gender pay gap figures annually.

For the most part the regulator fares better than fund groups and discretionary managers in the UK who when combined had an average pay gap of 30.5% and 40.87%, respectively.

Unlike the majority of firms in the financial services industry, the FCA said its gender pay gap was not driven by an imbalance of women in senior roles. Half of its non-executive directors identify as female as does 44% of its executive committee.

Within the organisation itself, women occupy 39% of the highest paid positions at the FCA compared with 61% of men. While this figure is up 3% from 36% in 2017, it remains unchanged from the level of senior women the regulator had when it signed up to the Charter in 2016.

The FCA said the flat growth of women in senior leadership roles is a reminder that “there is no room for complacency”.

“We recognise the important role we play, as a regulator, in improving gender balance across the financial services industry,” the firm said in the report.

Gender pay gap culprits

Instead the regulator said its gender pay gap was being driven by an imbalance in its high paid middle-management layer at the technical specialist level and in its lowest paid bracket at the business support level.

The technical specialist team currently has 30% female representation, while women make up 74% of the business support group.

But the regulator said it was on track to have 45% of its senior leadership team comprised of people who identify as female by 2020 and 50% by 2025.

It added it was close to meeting its targets of having 8% of its senior leadership team made up of Black, Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals by 2020, rising to 13% by 2025.

“Diversity and inclusion are central to how the FCA acts, both as an employer and as a regulator, and are at the heart of our mission,” it said. “Our message is clear. Whether you are the regulator or a regulated firm, diversity matters. A diversity of perspectives and thought results in better judgements and better decision-making in the public interest. It reduces the risk of group think and encourages innovation.”

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