Page last updated at 23:11 GMT, Friday, 2 April 2010 00:11 UK

UK's financial firms 'need more female directors'

City of London skyline
The report says the City needs more senior female staff

A lack of female directors in the City of London may have worsened the crisis in the financial sector, a Commons Treasury Committee report has said.

The MPs said the lack of diversity in the boardroom "may have...made effective challenge and scrutiny of executive decisions less effective".

The Committee said the onus was on the City to boost female representation at senior level rather than a law change.

Yet it warned that without action, the calls for compulsory measures may grow.

Pay gap

The Committee - which has only one female MP among its 14 members - said that less than 2% of executives in financial firms are women.

We are highlighting the fact that women are poorly represented in the financial sector, particularly at board level
Treasury Committee chairman John McFall

Its Women In The City report follows after its work to establish the causes of the financial crisis.

The Committee said the lack of women on the boards of financial firms may have heightened the problem of "group-think" - group members who put reaching consensus and minimising conflict ahead of sufficient critical testing and evaluation.

"We are not saying that had women been in charge the crisis wouldn't have happened, but we are highlighting the fact that women are poorly represented in the financial sector, particularly at board level," said the Committee's chairman, John McFall.

The report also said a "significant pay gap" continued to exist between men and women in the City, from the boardroom down to entry-level employees.

It said figures from the Chartered Management Institute showed that the average salary of male directors in financial firms last year was £150,283, but only £126,704 for women.

Meanwhile, male junior members of staff in the City were on average paid £23,415, while their female colleagues only got £19,717.

The Equality Bill currently making its way through Parliament plans to force all companies to make public any pay differentials, unless enough progress is made through voluntary disclosures.

Last September, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found that men working in the UK's financial sector receive five times more in bonus payments than women.

It found that on average, women got annual bonuses of £2,875 compared with £14,554 for men.



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