Gender pay gap: the UK’s most unequal banks

Written by Lori Campbell on 17th Jan 2024

Britain’s finance industry is notorious for its gender pay gap, with women working for the worst offenders earning HALF of what men do. There is also a staggering gender bonus gap, with women receiving on average up to a third of what men in the same company do.

Since 2017, all companies in the UK with over 250 employees must publish the difference between the pay and bonuses of their male and female employees. The gender pay gap looks at all roles at all levels of an organisation and therefore highlights that men still tend to dominate the highest-paying jobs.

Here, we reveal the five banks with the highest gender pay and bonus gaps.


Gender pay gap: 45.2 per cent

Gender bonus gap: 64 per cent

HSBC has the highest gender pay gap of all the UK banks. Its latest gender pay gap report reveals a gender pay gap of 45.2 per cent. This means that women at HSBC earn on average just 54.8p for every £1 paid to male colleagues.

The bank also has a staggering gender bonus gap of 64 per cent, up from 62.2 per cent in 2021.

HSBC says: “Pay gaps are a key indicator of balance in our workforce, as they show the difference in average pay between two groups. Where pay gaps exist, they show the extent to which women and colleagues of some ethnicities are under-represented in senior and higher paid roles and over-represented in junior and lower paid roles.

“The actions we are taking to improve representation across the whole organisation will be reflected in our disclosures in years to come.”

Read its latest report here.

2. Lloyds Bank

Gender pay gap: 29.3 per cent

Gender bonus gap: not reported

Lloyds comes in second with a gender pay gap of 29.3 per cent. This means its female employees are paid on average 70.7p for every £1 their male counterparts earn.

Lloyds says it has omitted bonus gap figures from its latest report as they cannot be compared to the previous year when bonuses weren’t paid due to Covid-19.

Lloyds Bank says: “Within the Group, there are comparatively more women in junior roles, and more men in higher-paid leadership roles. This is the main source of the overall pay gap, as the lower number of senior women brings down the average pay for these colleagues. Other factors which influence the gap include working patterns, maternity leave and other leaves of absence.

Read its latest report here.

3. Standard Chartered

Gender pay gap: 29 per cent

Gender bonus gap: 49 per cent

Standard Chartered has a gender pay gap of 29 per cent. This means its female employees are paid on average 71p for every £1 their male counterparts earn.

Its gender bonus gap is 49 per cent.

The bank says: “Our Gender Pay Gaps have steadily improved since our first disclosure for 2017 (when our mean hourly pay gap ranged from 24 per cent to 39 per cent, and our mean bonus pay gap ranged from 53 per cent to 64 per cent. However, they remain at a level that signifies there are proportionally more male than female colleagues in senior roles and/or roles with higher market rates of pay.”

Read its latest report here.

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4. NatWest

Gender pay gap: 28.7 per cent

Gender bonus gap: 30.4 per cent

NatWest is hot on the heels of Standard Chartered, reporting a mean gender pay gap of 28.7 per cent. Women at HSBC therefore earn on average 71.3 pence for every £1 earned by male colleagues.

The bank also has a gender bonus gap of 30.4 per cent.

NatWest says: “As a purpose-led organisation we need to reflect the communities we serve. That’s why we have targets for gender and ethnicity – full gender balance in our CEO-3 and above global roles by 2030 and 14 per cent of colleagues from ethnic minority backgrounds in our CEO-4 and above UK positions by 2025.”

Read its latest report here.

5. Morgan Stanley UK

Gender pay gap: 20 per cent

Gender bonus gap: 46.2 per cent

American investment bank Morgan Stanley’s UK arm makes it into our top 5 with a median gender pay gap of 20 per cent – so for every £1 it pays a male employee, it pays 80 pence to a woman.

Its gender bonus gap is 46.2 per cent.

Morgan Stanley says: “Fairness in our pay practices remains a core part of our compensation strategy. Our results reflect that we have a greater proportion of men than women in senior positions, and in businesses where market rates of pay are highest, but we remain committed to reducing our Gender Pay Gap.”

Read its latest report here.

UK banks performing better on their gender pay gaps include:

Starling Bank with a gender pay gap of 12.34 per cent and bonus gender pay gap of 33.21 per cent.

Triodos Bank with a gender pay gap of 16.90 per cent. It does not pay bonuses.

Note: The gender pay gap measures the difference between the average (mean) hourly earnings of men and women in a company. The figures above are from the banks’ latest reports made in April 2023 for the previous year. 

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