John Glen MP, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury and the minister responsible for the financial services industry, has urged firms to put plans in place to ensure men and women are equally represented at management level.

Speaking at a Conservative Party Conference fringe event, Mr Glen promised to conduct a “deep dive” into the issue. He posed this question for firms:

“What are you doing to move from a situation where you have 50:50 recruitment at graduate level or intake level, but over the course of the next 20 years, by the time you get to the senior management and board appointments, you’ve certainly not got 50:50.”

The Minister suggested that many firms could have better mentoring programmes and other initiatives to help women advance their careers.

Financial Conduct Authority research shows that the proportion of women in senior roles within financial services remained largely unchanged between 2005 and 2019. In 2019, women made up just 17% of those registered as approved persons at authorised firms across all sectors, although this figure was slightly higher, at 23%, in larger firms.

Data from Bloomberg also shows that the gender pay gap in investment banking barely improved during the period from April 2019 to April 2020, moving from 45.2% to 44.5% over the 12 months. Reuters data from 21 financial institutions shows their gender pay gap altering from 33.4% to 33% over the same period. The gender pay gap across all UK companies currently stands at 14.6%.

Mr Glen also commented on the educational background of those who work in financial services, saying that the industry “shouldn’t just be open to people who had a certain sort of education at a small number of universities.”

Chartered Management Institute chief executive Ann Francke said:

“The UK’s financial services industry has often been singled out. It really does have to get its house in order – the industry is a huge employer in the UK and it has a real opportunity to lead by example.”