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HL Gender Pay Gap Report 2020

An inclusive and diverse working culture, where people can come as they are and be the best that they can be, is very important to all of us at HL. As part of our commitment to this, we are sharing our gender pay gap figures today. Normally they would be reported in March however, due to COVID-19, the legal requirement for us to do so has been waived. Nevertheless, it is the right thing to do and so we are publishing them anyway.

I am pleased with the progress we have made, but I also recognise that there is more to do to create opportunities to hire and progress diverse talent into senior roles at HL. Our current focus is on reducing our gender pay and bonus gap by increasing the proportion of women in senior roles.

I also want to do more to build wider diversity and open up opportunities to colleagues from all backgrounds. We know that we make better decisions and drive better client outcomes when we have diverse teams.

The gender pay gap has been a catalyst for change and we continue to work toward lasting changes for the good of our colleagues, clients and the business. For my part, I will continue to lead our approach as the Exco member responsible for inclusion and diversity, and as sponsor of the Gender Diversity Network to promote, empower, support and challenge. We are also in the process of revisiting our Inclusion and Diversity strategy to ensure we improve wider diversity at HL and we will share this when it has been finalised in the coming weeks.


I’m proud to chair a Board which is committed to diversity and inclusion. Diversity is a far wider subject than just gender and embracing difference is at the heart of how we look after the differing needs of our clients.

DEANNA OPPENHEIMER, Non-executive chair

Understanding the pay gap

This is HL’s third gender pay gap (GPG) report, covering pay at HL on the snapshot date of 5 April 2019. Gender pay legislation usually requires employers with more than 250 staff to publish their gender pay gap. Due to covid-19 there is no legal requirement for us to publish our gender pay gap this year, however we have chosen to do so because we believe it is the right thing to do.

The GPG measures the difference between men’s and women’s earnings across the business by expressing the percentage difference between men and women’s average pay.

For example, if the average man’s pay was £20 per hour and average woman’s pay was £17 per hour, women would earn 85% of the amount men earn, giving a gender pay gap of 15%.

This is different to equal pay which refers to men and women receiving equal pay for equal work. HL has a clear, fair, and gender-neutral approach to pay and we operate on an equal pay basis across the company.

Our progress to date

  • Commitment from the Board and senior leadership to fairness, equality, diversity and inclusion
  • HL plc Board has a female Chair and two other women on the Board
  • HL is a member of the 30% club and has signed the Women in Finance Charter, both committing to increase the number of women in senior positions
  • 32nd in the FTSE 100 ranking of Women on Boards and in Leadership - Hampton-Alexander Review
  • Greater support for women who take career breaks, through improved maternity and returner programmes and flexible working

The gender pay gap at HL

When comparing the average pay, two types of measure are used. The "median” is the "middle" value in a list of numbers. If all HL colleagues lined up in a female line and a male line, in order of pay from highest to lowest, the median gender pay gap compares the pay of the female in the middle of their line to the pay of the middle man. The "mean" is where you add up all the rates of pay and then divide by the number of people.

The data provided is accurate and has been independently reviewed.

Pay and bonus gap difference between male and female UK colleagues

Mean (%) Median (%)
Hourly rate of pay 12.9 19.9
Bonus pay 73.0 49.5

Proportion of male and female UK colleagues in each pay quartile

Male Female
Upper quartile 81% 19%
Upper middle quartile 70% 30%
Lower middle quartile 60% 40%
Lower quartile 57% 43%

We’ve made significant progress in closing our mean GPG over the last two years, reducing the gap by 55% in that period. Our median bonus GPG has also been reduced significantly since 2017, with a 31% reduction in the gap, showing that work to increase rigor around bonus allocation and calibration has paid off.

Whilst our median GPG has narrowed year-on-year it is still higher than in 2017. This is because we haven’t seen much change in the numbers of men and women at each role level nor have we seen much change in both the male and female mean/median hourly rates.

The 2019 mean bonus GPG has increased slightly from the 2018 and whilst there is positive movement in our median bonus figures, the bonus gaps overall remain significant due to an overall higher proportion of male employees and a greater proportion of males in senior roles.

Bonus payments

Proportion of eligible males/females who received a bonus

Proportion of males/females who received a bonus payment

Why there is a gender pay gap

We have a greater proportion of men in senior roles as you can see below. These senior roles have higher salaries and higher bonuses. Therefore the average amount men are paid is higher.

Proportion of male and female UK colleagues per role level

As at 5 April 2019

There are a number of reasons why gender pay gaps have happened over time. We know that in the past there have been greater numbers of men working in the financial services, fin tech and tech industries compared to women and this has led to disproportionate numbers of men in senior roles and we can see this is also true of HL. The diversity of our senior leadership team today reflects the historic make up of our workforce.

We want to do more to create opportunities for women to move on to more senior roles. Our Inclusion and Diversity Strategy and accompanying action plan focuses on building a diverse and inclusive workforce which will support the reduction in our gender pay gap over time. Actions include:

  • Hiring more: all role level 1, 2 and 3 recruitment activity must include a female at final stage. Any exceptions require justification and sign-off by the Chief People Officer
  • Promoting more: in addition to role levels 1 and 2, the role level 3 promotion process will be standardised in order to increase rigor and reduce any unconscious bias
  • Losing fewer: Increasing the quality of exit interview data to enable identification of common themes contributing to departures
  • Targeted initiatives: Some areas of HL have very few women. We will analyse and understand better the diversity challenges in each area, and then focus on a small number of initiatives aimed at improving female representation
Diversity and inclusion are extremely important to me.

I believe in building a culture and environment that attracts, values and retains people from all walks of life, regardless of background and beliefs. The diversity of thought, experience and creativity will help us to understand and serve our increasingly diverse range of clients.

CHRIS HILL, CEO and executive committee member responsible for our diversity and inclusion strategy

It’s really important to me that we continue to make progress on our gender pay gap and help develop female talent in HL.

We’re addressing the insights from this report with our diversity and inclusion action plan and I am confident that we can close the gender pay gap over time.

HEATHER COOPER, Chief People Officer and executive committee member responsible for Corporate Social Responsibility