Fund manager Hermes Investment Management has become one of the first companies in the overwhelmingly male-dominated financial services sector to publish its gender pay gap, highlighting the massive imbalance that still defines one of the UK’s most lucrative industries.
The company on Monday said that it pays its average female employee more than 30 per cent less than its average male employee, as a result of men holding the vast majority of the most senior and therefore highest paid jobs.
The firm, which manages around £33bn worth of assets, said that among full-time employees, the mean gender pay gap is 30.2 per cent and the median gap is 24.4 per cent. The difference between the mean bonus paid to male and female relevant employees is 63.1 per cent.
Harriet Steel, board director and head of business development at the company, said that it was “astounding” that there is still a gender pay gap across the UK, but she also said that she believes 2018 will be a “seminal year for the industry”.
“Whilst closing the gender pay gap in our industry will take time, I believe 2018 will mark the start of an industry-wide commitment to greater diversity by taking meaningful, measurable and visible steps that deliver long-term change,” she said.
Like other UK companies employing at least 250 people, obliging them to publish a gender pay gap report by early April, Hermes said that it is taking measures to close the gap.
It said that it was recruiting a diversity and inclusion manager to help “ensure specific and appropriate guidance and support across a range of areas and the implementation of developmental programmes” and that it was committed to promoting women in the workplace.
“Historically asset management has been male dominated, due to a lack of females following professions requiring STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, resulting in talent pool challenges and fewer females available for senior positions,” the company said in its report.
“While our gender pay gap is likely to be on par with the rest of the asset management industry, it is simply not good enough. We need to work to change this imbalance across Hermes as well as the rest of the industry,” it added.
“Companies like ours need to widen the pool of people from which we recruit, encourage the brightest into the industry irrespective of their specific qualifications and create an environment that enables them to flourish and contribute over the long term,” Hermes said.