- Harriet Baldwin MP said she was “quite surprised” by the evidence from the inquiry to date.
- Some witnesses said Wednesday that some progress had been made since 2018.
A parliamentary committee of inquiry heard on Wednesday that progress in tackling sexism and misogyny in the City of London has stalled.
Harriet Baldwin, chair of the Treasury Committee examining sexism and misogyny in the city, said she was “quite surprised” by the evidence provided at the inquiry to date, which suggested “nothing has really changed since 2018”, and that the problem ‘has flattened’.
Baldwin, who serves as the Conservative MP for West Worcestershire, said it could still be a struggle for people, particularly women, to progress to the “higher echelons” of the financial sector.
Cahir: Harriet Baldwin MP, chair of the Treasury Committee examining sexism in the city
“There is still a very wide gender pay gap” within the [financial] sectors,” Baldwin said.
The UK financial services sector had an average gender pay gap (the difference between the average hourly pay of men and women, as a percentage of men’s wages) of 22 per cent in the 2022-23 financial year, just below the previous year’s rate and the highest. from any sector other than education.
A review of City companies in 2018 also found only a few women in executive roles across the financial sector.
But one witness, Sarah Boon, the UK’s chief financial officer, disagreed with Baldwin’s belief that little had changed.
Boon told the Treasury Committee: “I don’t think it’s fair to say that nothing has changed since 2018.”
‘There is more focus on flexible working, which was not the case in 2018. There is also a much greater understanding of issues affecting women, such as menopause. “More can be done, but there have been some changes.”
Karen Northey, director of The Investment Association, said it was difficult to measure progress on issues such as inclusion and diversity across the investment management sector.
But, speaking ahead of a report published by The Investment Association on Thursday, Northey said there had been a “change in the pay gap” within the sector.
Northey, while acknowledging that more progress needed to be made, said that “the average salary has changed from 31 per cent to 24 per cent between 2018 and 2022” across the investment management sector “so there is a smaller pay gap over there”.
Speaking out: In October, Baroness Morrissey said sexism remained “endemic” across the financial services sector.
Meanwhile, witness Yvonne Braun, director of the Association of British Insurers, said women’s representation at board level in the insurance and long-term savings sector had risen from 19 per cent in 2018 to 32 per cent. in 2022.
He said the Gulf was still “quite poor” but acknowledged there had been “a change.”
Adam Jacobs-Dean, chief executive of the Alternative Investment Management Association, said the picture at the senior level in the hedge fund sector was “not as good” as it could be, but suggested some progress had been made.
Jacobs-Dean said only about 20 percent of people in senior positions within the hedge fund sector were women.
She added: “Men are the majority in our sector, but we, as an industry body, are in a good position to be able to showcase the success that a number of women have had in building their careers in our industry.”
From the investigation, the Treasury Committee said it wanted to “gain information” about how the banking, insurance, investment management and hedge fund sectors are trying to address the issue of sexism in their sectors.
In October, as the Treasury committee launched its inquiry into sexism in the City, Baroness Morrissey, chair of the Diversity Project, an initiative in the UK savings and investment industry, said sexism was “endemic” across the financial services industry.
He called for independent reviews into how firms deal with sexual harassment complaints, adding that the Financial Conduct Authority could better use its powers to tackle the issue, including penalizing firms for failing to act.
Morrissey said there were “large areas” in the sector where improvements had not been made since 2018.
The FCA needs to have “real teeth” and issue clear guidance to firms about what is unacceptable. Independent investigations may also be necessary to ensure appropriate action is taken, Morrissey said.