Women in Finance : career evolution and bonuses

Promoting diversity in the financial sector is a huge focus in an industry traditionally renowned for its male-dominated culture. Under pressure from shareholders, government regulation and lobbying forces and employees, banks have tackled the issue in order to improve the perception of women in banking, salaries and degree of managerial responsibility. But the question remains: is there still a pay gap today?

To celebrate International Women's Day, we have analysed data from 4,700 UK front office bankers to see if it took longer for women to be promoted and if they earned different amounts compared to their male colleagues. Our data paints a leak picture showing that a pay gap still exists in Finance, especially visible when looking at bonus payments, and that women are slower to be promoted throughout their career in banking.

How does gender affect career progression?


Men6 years10 years13.5 years17.5 years
Women6.5 years10.5 years13.5 years19.5 years
Based on 4,700 front office banking & finance professionals working in the UK

Gender hardly affects career progression: it takes women a maximum of 6 months more than men to reach managerial positions. ...Except for MDs ! Women struggle to reach the most senior and highest paid titles in banking as fast as their male counterparts, taking two years more then male counterparts to reach Managing Director level.

How does gender impact bonuses?

Bonus differences in M&A and Trading:

Based on 615 M&A and Trading professionals with 10 to 15 years of experience

Bonus satisfaction

GenderNot satisfiedUnsureSatisfied

Bonuses is where it hurts:

the pay gap is especially striking when looking at bonuses rather than salaries : in M&A, men and women both earn 160,000 annual salaries, while men's bonuses are 29,000 higher, which pales in comparison to trading where men's bonuses are twice that of a female!

Are women less demanding when it comes to pay?

Women are slightly more satisfied with their bonuses than men, despite being offered lower bonuses, both in M&A and Trading. Women are known to be less likely to ask for pay rises and promotions compared to their male counterparts, the impact of which is visible in both pay and career progression.

To be clear...

While transparency in pay has come leaps and bounds in the financial services industry since 2008, there is still a clear pay gap between men and women, especially in the more opaque bonus component of remuneration. Without formal processes such as the recent Government's consultation, it is very likely that banks may not be aware of the pay gap within their own firms until they analyse their pay information. Providing transparency around pay, both for employers and employees is the surest way to encourage professionals to question the gender pay gap and push employers to close it.


Emolument provides bonus and salary statistics based on data submitted directly by professionals like you. It is free, anonymous, and already a trusted tool for thousands of professionals worldwide. Are you paid enough? Click here to find out now.

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