Business Law & Compliance

Virgin Money boss' review calls for firms to link bonuses to appointment of female senior staff

4 min read

05 November 2015

Bank bosses should have their bonuses tied to increasing the number of senior women in their companies, according to a review being led by Virgin Money CEO Jayne-Anne Gadhia.

The OECD estimated that equalising the role of men and women in the labour market could increase GDP by ten per cent by 2030. However, the “Global Gender Gap Report 2014“, found that the gender gap for economic participation and opportunity only stands at 60 per cent worldwide. Based on this trajectory, it will take 80 years for the world to close this gap completely.

And while Lord Davies has hailed the “near-revolution which has taken place in the boardroom” after it was announced that there are no all-male boards left in the FTSE 100, the overall gender pay gap stands at 19.1 per cent, down from 27.5 per cent in 1997. For full-time workers the difference in pay is 9.4 per cent. When it comes to financial and insurance roles, however, the pay gap stands at 35.2 per cent.

In an effort to tackle the problem, bosses with more than 250 employees are facing new rules forcing them to publish their gender pay gaps – a requirement that, as was announced by prime minister David Cameron in October, will soon include bonuses.

To further expand female representation in the workplace, Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO of Virgin Money, has agreed to lead a review into women in senior managerial roles in the financial services industry. And the proposal to make the remuneration packages of a firm’s executive team dependent on gender balance is one of the preliminary recommendations.

Read more about gender pay gap:

It will shortly publish a call for evidence on these recommendations, and will publish a final report ahead of the 2016 Budget.

“Some 60 per cent of the financial services workforce are women, but less than 20 per cent of them reach executive positions,” Gadhia said. “Businesses will increase productivity and improve results by encouraging more women into senior roles. My report proposes addressing the issue in a way that the City will recognise. Make it public, measure it and report on it. What gets published gets done.”

Gadhia suggested that each company should appoint an executive to take responsibility for gender, diversity and inclusion.

She further claimed that it should be a wake-up call to everyone in financial services that fewer women progress to senior levels than in any other industry in the UK.

“There are many views as to why that might be,” she said. “Motherhood, remuneration, the ‘old boys’ network’ are all mentioned, but only scratch the surface of an issue that has been hidden for too long.”

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