· News

Goldman Sachs pay gap hits 54%

Companies with more than 250 employees have been required to publish their gender pay gap since 2017

The gender pay gap among UK staff at Goldman Sachs has reached 54% – its highest level since data was first gathered in 2017.

This means that women at Goldman Sachs earn 72p for every £1 that men earn.

The figures reflect the fact that women are not widely represented in the higher levels of the organisation. Women occupy 24.3% of the highest paid jobs and 64.6% of the lowest paid jobs at the company.

There is also a bonus pay gap: women at Goldman Sachs earn 42p for every £1 that men earn when comparing median bonus pay. Their median bonus pay is 57.8% lower than men’s.

In a memo to employees on the company website, CEO Richard Gnodde wrote: “We have teams throughout the business working on this, and while significant improvements to our UK gender pay gap will take time, we will stay focused to drive meaningful progress towards our global aspirational goals.

“Our leadership pipeline is discussed at EMEA Inclusion and Diversity Committee (EIDC) meetings, and we continue to focus on our talent development, retention and advancement initiatives.”

Read more: Sexism in the city: Lack of progress 'shocking' say MPs

Melissa Blissett, pay gap analytics lead at professional services consultancy Barnett Waddingham, told HR magazine that a gender pay gap does not always mean that a woman and man are paid differently for the same job.

She said: “A gap doesn't necessarily mean that an employer is discriminatory or does not support women in the workplace. 

“Under the current system, we are laser focused on tracking the median pay gap between women and men, across all job roles in an organisation, to measure if women have equal access to opportunities. But taken in isolation, these figures offer a distorted view.”

Read more: 17% of large firms don’t report their gender pay gap, CIPD reveals

Blissett added that pension contributions can also mask considerable pay gaps. For example, in a scenario where a man is earning £70,000 and a woman is earning £50,000, if the man contributes £20,000 a year to a pension plan via salary sacrifice, his earnings would only be assessed as £50,000, the same as the woman’s, showing no difference in hourly pay.

She said that employers must be sure they understand pay gap data to make meaningful change.

"If we are serious about smashing the glass ceiling once and for all, we need to focus more attention on meaningful change and championing policies that make a real difference. 

“This means more attention on the percentage of women represented in senior roles, looking beyond core legislative reporting figures and better data segmentation by job grade, age and other factors. Until we adjust our focus, we won’t see a difference."

Last month, the ‘Sexism in the City’ inquiry, which raised concerns about a lack of gender equality in financial service, highlighted the issue of pay gaps and a lack of female leadership in the sector. 

MPs called for employers to stop asking about salary history and start listing pay bands on job adverts. They also said that pay gap reporting rules should be extended to smaller firms with less than 250 staff, including private equity and hedge funds, which have some of the least diverse workforces.

For HR magazine last summer, Labour MP Jess Phillips said: "While the pay gap between men and women has been narrowing, it has narrowed slowly, and there is no guarantee that progress will always continue. This is an issue we cannot ignore."