Narrowing the pay gap: PwC narrowed its mean gender pay gap to 13.7% in April 2017 for hourly fixed pay from 15.2% in 2016. Of the employees in the highest pay quartile, 38.6% are women, compared to 46.9% in the second quartile, 53.7% in the third and 52.5% in the lowest pay quartile. The firm has been reviewing its recruitment processes and examining how to make senior roles more flexible. It has voluntarily published its gender pay gap since 2014.
Worst offenders: Financial services has the biggest gender pay gap of any sector in the U.K., according to new research. Emolument.com asked 857 staff across a range of industries if they thought there was a gap in pay between sexes and compared the findings with the actual difference in pay, based on salary data from 50,000 staff working in those sectors. About 81% of women in financial services indicated they believe there is a pay gap in their industry; 55% of men agreed. The actual industry pay gap is 30%, according to Emolument.com, which outstrips the gaps in other sectors. The 20% gap in consulting and professional services is the second biggest.
Moving finance from New York to Delaware: Delaware corporations will soon be able to issue shares on a blockchain. Beyond the capital markets, the move has implications for the way banks stake their claims to collateral. The shift would restore direct ownership of securities to companies and individuals, while speeding up stock trades and increasing the transparency and security of the whole system; and allow market participants and regulators to "understand with exact accuracy who owns what, and in real time," said Caitlin Long, the chairman and president of the smart-contracts startup Symbiont, Delaware's technology partner for the initiative. Symbiont’s platform is built "to be able to store legal documents on the ledger in a confidential and secure manner and without slowing down performance," Long said. Andrea Tinianow, director of corporate and international development for the state of Delaware, says she expects to see an entire ecosystem built atop Symbiont's distributed ledger. "The more diverse the groups on the distributed ledger are, the better," she said.
Culture of flexibility: Virgin Money director of public affairs Emily Cox discusses diversity in financial services on Bloomberg this week. The industry, she said, is “so much worse” than any other industry at enabling women to rise through the ranks and get top jobs. It’s important that companies set targets and be prepared to disclose them in order to bring about actual change, and that they appoint someone to be held responsible for enforcing targets and link bonuses to them, she added. What’s helped her rise through the ranks? A culture of flexibility is “absolutely critical,” she said.
Former U.K. Financial Conduct Authority head Tracey McDermott has joined the board of U.K. Finance, a new lobbying group for Britain’s banking sector.
In case you missed it
Reminder: Have you taken this quick survey from the Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media? Please do! We need more men and women from the banking industry to participate to help make this research a success. Your answers are completely confidential, and participants will be entered into a drawing for a $500 Visa gift card and two free passes to an upcoming American Banker conference. Click here to start the survey.
Abuse of power: Several female startup founders are sharing detailed stories about sexual harassment from male venture capitalists and why they felt compelled to stay quiet about it (read them here). Rachel Renock, the chief executive of Wethos, said she put up with sexist comments from investors because she needed the money so badly, she “couldn’t imagine a world in which that $500,000 wasn’t on the table anymore.” What happens after women are propositioned is arguably worse. "Many times, the investors’ firms and colleagues ignored or played down what had happened when the situations were brought to their attention. Saying anything, the women were warned, might lead to ostracism,” the Times reports. Most venture capitalists and entrepreneurs are men, with female entrepreneurs receiving $1.5 billion in funding last year versus $58.2 billion for men. “Female entrepreneurs are a critical part of the fabric of Silicon Valley,” said Katrina Lake, founder and chief executive of the online clothing start-up Stitch Fix. “It’s important to expose the type of behavior that’s been reported in the last few weeks, so the community can recognize and address these problems.” Meanwhile, some high-profile men condemned for hurting women have come forward and apologized — not just in Silicon Valley, count Jay-Z among them too — and instead of applauding the women speaking out, the world is applauding the men for their apologies.