Dow Jones features The Pay Index in recent Gender Pay Gap article

4/25/2018 The Pay Index

The City jobs where women earn more than men, by Lucy McNulty


So-called 'back-office' senior support roles display a strikingly different gender pay gap, according to The Pay Index

Behind the figures detailing the gender pay gap lurks a surprising fact: there are roles within financial services where women earn more than their male counterparts.

The catch? None of them are client-facing.

Women in senior support roles within technology, auditing and risk management at UK banks take home an average of 10.7% more than men in the same roles, according to The Pay Index, an executive pay data based in London.

James Rust, a founding partner at The Pay Index, said: “There is a war for talent out there for top female executives [in support services] , which bearing in mind there are less of them, means companies are having to pay more to get hold of them.”

Figures from The Pay Index show several areas where women out-earn men. Within UK investment banks’ auditing departments, senior female auditing professionals earn a median annual salary of £210,000. That is 4.8% more than their male colleagues who take home £200,000, according to data submitted to The Pay Index by nine women and 41 men.

Women working in management positions in investment banks’ risk departments, meanwhile, pocket median salaries of £309,000, according to responses from 14 women in these roles. That is 6.3% more than 40 of their male colleagues who told The Pay Index they earn £290,000 annually, on a median basis.

Insurance firms in the UK also pay their senior female support staff more than their male counterparts, according to The Pay Index’s data.

Rust said: “There is an imbalance of women working at the senior executive level across the majority of infrastructure and support services, the only notable exception being HR.”

Regarding the relatively small sample sizes, he said: “The data gathered within The Pay Index is an accurate reflection of what he has witnessed across the market as a whole.”


‘There is a war for talent out there for top female executives [in support services] which bearing in mind there are less of them, means companies are having to pay more to get hold of them.’


The gap between male and female salaries was most pronounced within UK-based insurers’ management-level finance, tax and treasury roles, based on responses from two women and seven men. Women in such positions earn a median annual salary of £468,990 — an 82.5% uptick on the average pay of their male colleagues which currently stands at £185,000.

Rust said the data reflected both a fundamental “imbalance of women working in technology” and increasing demand for senior female technology specialists as the financial services industry seeks to redress the gender balance within the traditionally male-dominated function.

As firms seek out more women for technology roles, those with the required experience are moving jobs more frequently and thereby being “marked-to-market more often”, he said.

The gender pay gap is smaller within asset management, but senior female risk managers still outearned their male counterparts by 24.2%, according to The Pay Index figures. Data from three women and 11 men showed that female risk managers earn £255,000 annually, on a median basis, compared to £200,000 by their male colleagues.

Job functions in insurance where women earn more than men include senior roles in finance, tax and treasury, legal, technology, auditing, finance, tax and treasury as well as human resources.

Mark Freed, chief executive of networking group E2W, said the data was “disturbing” and reflected “an equal pay problem” within financial services as opposed to a gender pay gap.

“Most large firms in the sector have undertaken equal pay audits and have confirmed their confidence that they pay men and women the same for undertaking work of similar value,” he said.

Elsewhere in financial services, the figures are not as favourable for women.

In last week’s publication of the difference in hourly pay and bonuses earned by men and women in UK companies with more than 250 employees, around 9,800 firms submitting gender pay gap data found 78% admitting to paying women less than men. Financial services were among the poorest performing sectors, with some banks paying women up to 55% less per hour than male colleagues, calculated on a median basis.

Female compliance professionals at asset managers in the UK earn a median annual salary of £151,000. But that is 63% less than the median pay of their male counterparts, who take home £290,000 a year, according to data supplied to The Pay Index by eight women and nine men. Women in these roles effectively start working for free from August 20 each year.

‘Even though I have a pay review coming up next week I don’t feel as though I can ask if I am paid on a par with my male colleagues as I suspect I’ll just be brushed off with excuses’

One female compliance officer at a UK-based asset manager said the size of the gender pay gap was “not all that surprising.

“Even though I have a pay review coming up next week I don’t feel as though I can ask if I am paid on a par with my male colleagues as I suspect I’ll just be brushed off with excuses,” she said.

Rust believed funds’ female compliance staff were paid less because they moved jobs less frequently than their counterparts in other sectors.

The average tenure for a female global head of compliance in fund management is four years, according to The Pay Index data. Women in the same role at investment banks typically remain in position for just over two years.

At investment banks in the UK, the gap between male and female salaries in compliance is significantly lower at 12.5%, The Pay Index’s data shows.

Jon Terry, a partner and global financial services people leader at consultancy PwC, said an increasing demand for compliance experts in the 10 years since the 2008 financial crisis had pushed up premiums for those moving to new roles. That, in turn, exaggerates the gender pay gap, he said.

“It’s almost certainly the case that more men have moved around than women,” he said.

The male head of compliance at one UK fund said the men in his team were “almost certainly the highest earners” despite his group being “nearly 80% women”.

Funds’ efforts to address their gender balance previously may have made their pay gap worse, he said: “[My] firm probably made the pay gap worse — many of the junior or entry level [portfolio manager]/analyst/trader roles, including the [graduate] scheme, have gone to women in recent years,” he said.

“Those people are likely the future leaders of the firm, and the big earners, so in the medium-to-long term we should see a big change,” he added.

“In the short-to-medium term though the pay gap would look better if we’d filled those lower paid roles with men.”

Recruiters and compliance professionals were hopeful that the increased transparency around the issue would have a positive impact, however.

Caleb Hawkins, the team leader for compliance at recruiter Morgan McKinley, said earlier this month that financial services firms were now starting to focus more on diversity.

Another senior male compliance professional at a UK-based fund said: “Now the industry has the data [there is] no excuse to start to address the issue.”

Freed said asset managers seeking to close their gender pay gap should ensure senior management are responsible, that recruitment strategies and processes “have been completely overhauled” and “comprehensive diversity recruitment strategies have been adopted”.


To contact the author of this story with feedback or news:

Lucy McNulty
Special reports editor, The Wall Street Journal

Lucy McNulty is the special reports editor at Financial News, a Dow Jones publication and sister title of the Wall Street Journal. Her areas of coverage include news and analysis on risk management, compliance, financial regulation and gender diversity in finance. She is based in London.

She can be reached at or on Twitter @lucymcnulty

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