UK financial services falls behind in gender pay satisfaction and job security

by | Apr 2, 2024

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New research shows the finance and insurance industry is making the most significant yearly improvements when it comes to the gender pay gap, but the median pay gap in the industry still stands 22.7% in 2023.

In the UK, the gender pay gap still remains as a common issue, with four out of five companies paying their male employees at least 10% more than females.

Keen to find out more, experts at The Knowledge Academy analysed gender pay gap data across UK industries over the past 20 years to reveal which UK industries have the highest gender pay gap, and which sectors are making the biggest improvements.

 
 
  • UK and Europe lagging behind US and APAC for equal pay satisfaction across genders
  • APAC offers the most parity in terms of pay satisfaction, but the price women pay is the lowest level of job security of any global financial centre
  • Fewer than half (48%) of women in UK financial services feel secure in their job, compared with 58% of men
  • Global age comparison reveal men over 50 and women in their 20s are the most likely to feel they are paid fairly
  • Working 7% more hours on 30% higher salaries leaves men earning 21% more per hour than women

Fewer than one in four (23%) women in UK financial services feel they’re fairly paid, significantly lower than a third of men (34%) who feel the same, according to the latest Compensation Report by eFinancialCareers, the world’s leading financial services careers platform.

The gender disparity means that, along with Europe, the UK trails behind other global financial centres in the US and APAC for equal pay satisfaction between male and female staff.

Women working in US financial services are slightly more likely to feel fairly paid than their British counterparts (26% vs. 23%) and less likely to feel unfairly paid (49% vs. 52%).

 
 

APAC matches the US for pay satisfaction among female employees (26%), just two percentage points lower than for men (28%). This narrow gap gives APAC the greatest level of gender parity when it comes to pay satisfaction across the four global financial markets in the study.

Table 1:  Attitudes to pay among global financial services employees by gender

Feel unfairly paidUnsureFeel fairly paid
APACAll41%31%28%
Female44%30%26%
Male41%31%28%
GPSG*3pp1pp8pp
EuropeAll47%22%32%
Female53%24%22%
Male46%20%34%
GPSG*7pp4pp12pp
United KingdomAll46%22%32%
Female52%25%23%
Male45%21%34%
GPSG*7pp4pp11pp
USAAll45%24%31%
Female49%25%26%
Male45%23%33%
GPSG*4pp2pp7pp

Source: eFinancialCareers, 2023 Compensation Report. *GPSG: Gender pay satisfaction gap

 
 

However, what APAC’s female FS workers gain in pay parity, they lose in job security. Women working in APAC’s financial services sector feel significantly less secure than their international counterparts: only 33% feel secure in their job, compared with 47% in the US, 48% in the UK and 59% in Europe.

Nevertheless, women in financial services on both sides of the Atlantic still face significantly less job security than men. The UK’s gender job security gap stands at 10 percentage points, with 58% of men feeling secure compared with 48% of women. The gap is even wider in the US, where 61% of male FS workers feel secure compared to only 47% of women.

Europe is the place to be for equal job security regardless of gender, with almost three in five women (59%) feeling secure in their employment within financial services, nearly level to the 60% of men.

Table 2:  Attitudes to job security among global financial services employees by gender

Feel insecure in their jobUnsureFeel secure in their job
APACAll27%21%52%
Female44%23%33%
Male24%19%56%
GJSG**20pp4pp23pp
EuropeAll23%18%60%
Female25%16%59%
Male22%17%60%
GJSG**3pp1pp1pp
United KingdomAll26%18%56%
Female29%23%48%
Male25%17%58%
GJSG**4pp6pp10pp
USAAll27%14%59%
Female42%12%47%
Male24%15%61%
GJSG**18pp2pp14pp

Source: eFinancialCareers, 2023 Compensation Report. **GJSG: Gender job security gap

eFinancialCareers’ study also shows how salary satisfaction for men and women differs according to age. The data reveals that, for women, salary satisfaction peaks in their twenties, the only time when women in financial services are more likely than men to feel they are fairly paid (36% vs. 35%).

However, satisfaction quickly falls to the extent that, by their forties, only 18% of women in the industry feel they are fairly compensated.

In contrast, salary satisfaction among men starts lower and drops at a steadier pace to a low of 28% in their 40s, before rising to peak beyond the age of 50 when two in five men feel they are fairly paid (40%).

Graph 1:  Percentage of global financial services workers who feel fairly paid, by age

Source: eFinancialCareers, 2023 Compensation Report

While eFinancialCareers’ data shows men in financial services jobs typically work 7% more hours than women (48.6 vs. 45.4 hours a week), their annual base salary is 30% higher ($176,098 vs. $135,613), leaving men earning 21% more on an hourly basis ($69.63 vs. $57.39).

Peter Healey, CEO of eFinancialCareers, comments: “While the financial services sector continues to act as a great contributor to global economies, men and women are still very far from parity when it comes to pay satisfaction and job security. This is despite significant investment and focus on diversity & inclusion efforts over many years

“Not only are women experiencing a shortfall in salary satisfaction, they also feel on shakier ground over their employment prospects in the sector. Looking at the performance of the British banking sector in an international context, it’s clear why UK banks are focussed on doing more to create a level playing field for people regardless of gender and age.      

“The UK and Europe need to start playing catch-up to equal the more positive sentiment among female employees in other markets. Failing to address the gender salary satisfaction and job security gap will leave UK and European financial services at a global disadvantage when competing to attract and retain talent.

“The overall 30% pay gap when comparing annual reportedbase salaries in the survey is a reminder that there is a long road ahead to reaching pay parity in the sector across all geographies.  Even when we adjust the data to take into account reported hours worked, the gap is 21%. We need to move quickly to create a climate where women in financial services do not feel their best rewarded years are already behind them once they reach their 30s.”

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