Discover your dream Career
For Recruiters

Morning Coffee: What are young women in banking supposed to think? How to lead a banking business before you're 35

For all the diversity initiatives, for all the women's networks, the coaching programs and the parading of senior role models, the newly released gender pay gap figures for banks in the UK are stark. If you are a woman in an investment bank, you are unlikely to progress beyond the lowest half of the bank's earners.

The reality is most clearly illustrated in the figures released by Goldman Sachs and UBS. - Although Barclays and HSBC have issued figures of their own, theirs are skewed by large numbers of employees in retail networks, many of whom have historically been women. At Goldman Sachs and UBS, the figures are simply for people working on Fleet Street and Broadgate Circle. They're therefore more comparable, and more damning.

As the charts below show, it's not difficult to be a woman in banking - so long as you're a woman who ranks among the bank's lowest earners. It's becoming a high earner in an investment bank that's hard if you're female. And becoming one of the highest earners looks almost impossible.

The figures for Goldman Sachs International, released on Friday suggest that in some ways Goldman is doing better than UBS. While UBS has more men than women at every pay level, Goldman has more women than men in its two lowest quartiles. While the proportion of women at UBS falls off significantly by the lower middle pay quartile, Goldman still has more women than men at this level. To the extent that pay is based on length of service, the implication is that Goldman Sachs is both recruiting high numbers of women and retaining them for several years, while UBS is struggling with both. For this, Goldman deserves to be applauded.

Beyond the lowest pay grades, however, Goldman looks equally - if not more culpable - as UBS at failing to include women in its highest earning cohorts. At UBS, 21% of people in the top earning quartile are women . At Goldman Sachs, just 17% are.

Goldman stressed on Friday that it's a meritocracy: "...gender is not a factor in the way that we pay our people,” the bank said in a statement quoted by Bloomberg. “We pay women and men in the same way, using the same compensation criteria, including the nature of their role and their performance.” In a separate memo, CEO Lloyd Blankfein and CEO in waiting David Solomon, said the firm needs to hold itself accountable and to provide, "more opportunities for women and diverse professionals to rise to the highest levels of our firm.”

In a further attempt to remedy the situation, Goldman now aims to recruit equal numbers of women and man into its graduate class by 2021. However, the chart below implies that Goldman's already doing a very good job at attracting women. - It's keeping them much beyond the five year point that looks to be the issue.

Separately, Credit Suisse has promoted a youthful(ish) to head its UK advisory and corporate broking team. Financial News reports that Charles Donald joined CS as a graduate in 2005, making him somewhere in his mid-30s now. In his new role, Stewart will be responsible for managing relationships with large UK companies. If you want to get to the top young in banking, it helps to have a lot of visibility with clients.


Goldman Sachs said in a memo to staff Thursday that it aims to have women make up half its workforce in the future, starting with an even split in its class of college graduates by 2021. (Bloomberg) 

Hard times at another hedge fund as John Paulson becomes the latest to cut staff. (Bloomberg) 

Berenberg now has the largest European equity sales team with more than 70 staff. Last year it hired 22 new research staff. (Financial Times) 

Alex Wilmot-Sitwell has mysteriously resigned as European president at Bank of America to "pursue opportunities outside the bank." BofA said it's a natural time for him to leave, even though he was a high profile figure in the bank's Brexit arrangements. (Telegraph) 

Senior executives at Deutsche Bank forewent their bonuses, but some got a "functional allowance instead." The chief risk officer's allowance was earned because it improved relations with U.S. regulators. - Like a bonus for a job well done. (WSJ) 

The acquisition of Bear Stearns has been a boon to J.P. Morgan's trading business. By comparison, fixed income revenues at Barclays - which acquired Lehman - have declined 66% since 2010. (Bloomberg) 

Asked to draw an effective leader, people produce a man. (New York Times) 

Bankers in Luxembourg contemplate living in the red light district due to a shortage of accommodation (Bloomberg)

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact:

Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • In
    21 March 2018

    It would be interesting to know the proportions by gender who apply for graduate roles at Goldman - it seems to me that it would be unfair to recruit equal numbers of women and men into the graduate programme if there are not equal numbers of applicants by gender - the result would be to favour one gender over another.

  • Na
    19 March 2018

    Women lack the aptitude for the quant and math roles at the right hand tail of the distribution though the median might be comparable, men have a higher standard deviation when it comes to aptitutde/hard skills.

Sign up to our Newsletter!

Get advice to help you manage and drive your career.

Boost your career

Find thousands of job opportunities by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.
Latest Jobs
Northern Trust
Personal Banker
Northern Trust
Key Biscayne, United States
Northern Trust
Global Head of Control, Asset Servicing
Northern Trust
Chicago, United States
Northern Trust
Private Equity Accounting, Accountant
Northern Trust
Chicago, United States
Northern Trust
Sr. Consultant, Cash & Collateral Services, HFS
Northern Trust
Chicago, United States

Sign up to our Newsletter!

Get advice to help you manage and drive your career.