Credit Suisse Group AG became the latest bank to report a big gap between what it pays men and women in its London investment bank, highlighting the banking industry’s challenge to get more women in higher-paying senior roles.
On a median hourly basis, women are paid 29% less than men, an executive said before the gender pay gap report is set to be released later Tuesday. The figure is roughly similar to other global banks operating in the UK and doesn’t indicate men and women are paid different rates for the same job, which is illegal in many countries including Britain, Switzerland and the U.S. Credit Suisse is among around 50 global financial institutions that must report on the pay and composition of their UK staff to the government.
Workforce diversity management has been a boardroom hot topic for years, but the issue is boiling over in the wake of the allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination across industries. Some money managers have said they won’t invest in companies that don’t have women on their boards — -even as they work to improve their own internal gender mixes.
In an interview, the bank’s senior human resources officer, Peter Goerke, said women made up just 14% of managing directors globally as of the end of 2017, up from 11% two years earlier. To help narrow the pay gap, he said Credit Suisse has “aspirations” — not hard targets — of around 18% female managing directors by 2021 and increasing the proportion of director-level women to 27% that year from 23% at the end of 2017.
Mr. Goerke said the bank is combing through its employment data for any biases around performance ratings that feed into decisions around bonuses and promotions.
At the snapshot date of April 5, 2017 used for the UK gender pay gap reporting, bonuses paid to men at Credit Suisse were more than twice those paid to women when measured both by the average and median levels. In 2016, women made 32% less than men by median hourly rate and median bonuses were 59% smaller.
“The root cause for what we see here is really the high proportion of men in senior and high-paying roles,” Mr. Goerke said. To improve that, “you have to get a bit out of the comfort zone.” He said that includes asking headhunters for all-woman candidate lists and steering interview processes to get more women to join and rise through its ranks.
“We have gone and asked for in briefings with recruiters that we don’t want any male candidates,” Mr. Goerke said. “You pull back immediately and say you want to have a real representation of potential candidates that are here. But just to push the thinking of recruiters, what if you had to only go after diverse candidates?”
The bank won’t discriminate, either negatively or positively, he said, but if three of 10 candidates are female, “maybe you interview all three of the women and three of the men…to steer it a little bit.”
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. earlier this month said it pays women in its main UK arm 36% less than men on a median, per hour basis, while JPMorgan Chase & Co. on Friday said men are paid around twice as much in its UK investment bank. In one small JPMorgan unit that includes merger-and-acquisition bankers, traditionally among the highest paid, women’s median bonuses were 89% less than those paid to men.
Banks have sought to separate the diversity and equal pay compensation discrimination from other allegations of mistreatment of women. Earlier this month, Credit Suisse Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam ordered an internal review of how the bank dealt with the alleged sexual assault of a female employee by her manager in 2010. Mr. Goerke said the case is still in a fact-finding stage. He said he is confident Credit Suisse doesn’t have any widespread issues with sexual discrimination or harassment.