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Barclays comes under fire from UK Treasury Committee chief over gender pay gap

Barclays Plc has come under fire from the head of the influential U.K. Treasury parliamentary select committee over its gender pay gap, after revealing in its 2017 annual report that women working in the division housing its investment bank are paid on average barely half as much as men.

The bank said the mean pay gap in its Barclays International division, which includes the corporate and investment bank, was 48.0%. It also noted that more than 80% of those in the division's highest pay quartile are men, whereas 63% of those in the lowest quartile are women.

On a group-wide basis, women account for 47% of staff at all grades, but represent only 15% of managing directors as of the end of 2017. The mean pay gap in the Barclays UK division, which houses Barclays Bank UK Plc and more than half the company's U.K. employees, was 26.0%, while the gap in its service company division, which represents 34% of U.K. employees, was 25.8%.

Nicky Morgan, head of the Treasury committee and a conservative member of Parliament, called the pay gap "shocking" and said she would be keeping a close eye on Barclays and other financial services institutions as they report gender pay gap information as required under new U.K. legislation.

"Barclays has signed up to the Women in Finance Charter, which commits signatories to supporting the progression of women into senior roles in the financial services sector," Morgan noted. "One way of reducing the gender pay gap is to increase the proportion of women in more senior roles, so it appears that Barclays is on the right track."

The Women in Finance Charter is a U.K. initiative launched in 2016 that asks firms to commit to measures supporting the progression of women in senior roles, and asks that they publish evidence each year. Morgan called out 33 financial firms in a Feb. 15 statement for failing to sign up to the Charter, including BNP Paribas SA and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., although those two firms subsequently released statements indicating that they intend to sign.

Firms in the U.K. with 250 employees or more are required to report information on gender and pay to the government by April 4. Other banks which have already submitted their data show a significant gender pay gap. Virgin Money Holdings (UK) Plc pays women 32.5% less than men on average, while Co-operative Bank Plc reported a gap of 30.3%.