Sexism in the City: In London, female bankers' bonuses are 80 percent lower

While regulators wrestle with how to curb banking bonuses, no one seems to have noticed that women working at London's top 50 banks and finance companies in the City are receiving bonuses worth an average of 80 percent less than their male counterparts. That means men take home about five times more than their female colleagues.

The study found that the average bonus for women in finance was £2,875 ($4,760) -- compared with £14,554 ($24,102) for men. And that's not the end of the story. The figures, released yesterday by the U.K.'s Equality and Human Rights Commission, show that inequality starts on the first day of work, with starting salaries for women a whopping 37 percent lower than those of their male peers.
The finance sector is guilty of one of the highest pay gaps in the U.K. economy. Calculations by the Commission, a watchdog organization, show that women working full-time in finance earn 55 percent less than their male colleagues in annual gross pay, compared to a gap of 28 percent for the rest of the economy. (Women make up 51 percent of finance's employees.)

Most astonishing about this survey were some responses of offending employers. More than half of the culpable institutions say they do not intend to address the situation, and 23 percent said they had never looked into the numbers.

The study suggests that the disparity may arise from the high proportion of workers surveyed between 25 to 39, when many women also care for children. Still, the financial sector "has to address this shocking disparity of rewards," says Trevor Phillips, chair of the Commission. "For business to thrive in the new economy, it simply can't afford to recruit and reward in the way it has done in the past."

Few people these days like to see bankers getting rich. Now male bankers will face added resentment over the shocking proof that their female colleagues are allowed so little of the spoils.

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