HSBC’s gender and Black pay gaps got bigger in 2022

HSBC’s pay gap for female and Black employees in the UK increased last year, despite a focus on recruiting more senior staff.

The UK lender’s average gender pay gap for UK employees in 2022 was 45.2%, according to figures in its annual report, up from 44.9% a year earlier. Meanwhile, the pay differential for Black employees was 24.8% last year, up from 22.9% in 2021.

“Our UK gender pay gap is driven by the shape of our workforce,” the bank said in a statement announcing the numbers. “There are more men than women in senior, higher-paid roles and more women than men in junior roles. Given differences in variable pay levels across these roles, the increase in the 2021 variable pay pool contributed to the slight widening of our pay gap for 2022.”

The bonus gap for women at HSBC increased from 62.2% in 2021 to 64% last year. Meanwhile, the gap in variable pay for Black employees increased from 48% to 48.6% year on year.

HSBC follows UK rival Barclays in unveiling an increased pay gap for Black employees despite a focus on recruiting and promoting more Black staff.

READ Barclays’ pay gap for Black employees grows in 2022 despite more senior hires

The average negative pay disparity for Black employees was 19.6% last year at Barclays, according to figures published by the bank, which was an increase of 0.4 percentage points. Meanwhile, the bonus differential was 52.8%, a rise of 1.2 percentage points compared with 2021.

HSBC set a target to double the number of Black senior leaders between 2020 and 2025, one of a number of responses by large investment banks to bolster Black talent in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by US authorities in May 2020. It aims to have 3.4% of senior leaders from ‘Black heritage’ in the US and UK by 2025, and increased this proportion from 2.2% last year to 2.5%. The bank defines this category as inclusive of all colleagues in the UK “who identify as Black or mixed race where one of the ethnicities is stated as Black” and in the US, “all colleagues who identify as Black or African-American”.

However, across the organisation, just 0.9% of HSBC employees are Black, an increase of 0.1 percentage points compared with 2021. At the senior level, 1% of the UK lender’s staff are black, up from 0.8% in 2021.

In the UK, the proportion of senior Black staff increased to 1.4% — up from 1% a year earlier — and 2.8% of total employees in the country are Black.

At HSBC, women now comprise 33.3% of senior roles, up from 31.7% in 2021. The smallest proportion of women is within its global banking and markets unit, which includes its investment bank and typically pays larger bonuses than other business lines. Here, women comprise 25.5% of senior roles.

“While we are confident in our approach to pay equity, until women and ethnically diverse colleagues are proportionately represented across all areas and levels of the organisation we will continue to see gaps in average pay,” the bank said. “We are committed to paying colleagues fairly regardless of their gender or ethnic heritage and have processes to ensure that remuneration is free from bias.”

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Paul Clarke

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