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Gender pay gap: TSB Reveals 82% of people don't know what it is

8th March 2018


A quarter (25%) of people believe that men will always dominate the most senior roles in UK businesses

With less than a month to go until companiesi have to publish their gender pay gap, research by TSB finds that eight out of 10 (82%) people do not understand what the gender pay gap is.

Encouragingly, the majority of people (88%) have heard of the gender pay gap but only one fifth (19%) know that it is the difference between the total earnings of all men and the total earnings of all women across an entire organisation.

Nearly three quarters (73%) of people mistakenly think that the gender pay gap is the same as equal payii believing it measures the difference in pay between men and women doing the same job.

More than three quarters of Brits (77%) also admitted that they were not aware of the requirement for companies to publish gender pay gap data. And half (51%) of those surveyed, who work for companies required to report their gender pay gap data, say they have no idea whether their employer has reported its data yet.

Helen Rose, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Sponsor for Gender at TSB, says:

“A year ago people hadn’t heard of the gender pay gap and now it’s making front page news.  It’s great to see so many people are talking about it as we all have a responsibility to keep the issue alive – and importantly help people understand the difference between the gender pay gap and equal pay.  We can all do more to ensure the differences are understood and get to the root cause of the issues: only then can we move the conversation on to how we can make workforces across the UK more balanced. 

“The Government’s initiative has put the issue firmly on the table and it’s fantastic that it’s spurred such a debate.”

Perception versus reality? Are there barriers to women reaching senior level jobs?

People think there are a number of barriers that are sadly preventing women reaching senior level jobs.  When asked about what these might be, the most common responses were:

  • Women taking on more responsibility for running the home and family (42%).
  • Male dominated working cultures that give men more opportunities to progress through their careers and reach the top jobs (41%).
  • Work environments and cultures that make it difficult for women to manage their work / life balance when they have a family (41%)

And looking to the future, a quarter (25%) of people believe that men will always dominate the most senior roles in UK businesses.  So, what can be done about this?

Will gender pay gap reporting drive change?

Almost half (48%) of those surveyed think it is good that companies are being held to account for gender imbalance in their workforce. And more than a third (36%) believe that making companies publish their gender pay gap will have an impact and will lead to a more gender balanced workforce in the UK.

But a third (34%) think businesses should do more to create cultures and working practices that support women more and help them to reach their potential. Similarly, nearly two thirds of people (61%) do not think it is satisfactory that companies can publish their gender pay gap data without having to make clear their plans for improvement.

Helen Rose continues: “It’s interesting that we all recognise the struggles women face to succeed in their careers – what’s key however, is that we all step forward to challenge the status quo. It’s only when companies support and encourage an inclusive working environment that people’s views will change.

“At TSB, we are building a different banking culture where everyone can thrive whatever their gender, ethnicity or background. We know our partners have commitments outside of work and our focus is on making sure they get the support they need to have a good work-life balance and still achieve their career aspirations.”

Around 9,000 companies in Britain are required by the Government to publish their gender pay gap by 4 April 2018 but, so far, fewer than 2,000 have published their data.

TSB was one of the first companies to report its gender pay gap in July 2017 when the Bank launched its Gender Balance Matters report. TSB is committed to tackling gender imbalance head-on and calling on the rest of UK business to build a more balanced workforce that lasts for the long term.


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Notes to editors


Research carried out in February 2018 by OnePoll with over 2,000 UK adults.

pay gap infographic

TSB is calling for change:

  1. Businesses must come clean on the reasons for their gender pay gap – companies shouldn’t just report on the figures, they need to identify the root cause.

  2. Companies must act to address the causes of their pay gaps – TSB believes that all businesses should share three signature actions to address the key reasons for the pay gap.

  3. Businesses must be held to account on the progress they are making by reporting annually on those signature actions and include within their report, over time, a rolling five year trend which shows the progress they are making.

TSB has three signature actions to tackle gender balance head-on:

  1. Attract more women into financial services and, more specifically, TSB:

    • Returning women campaign – many talented women left financial services due to cultural challenges. TSB has partnered with a Women Returners pilot programme in Scotland funded by the Scottish Government. The scheme runs returnship placements for experienced financial services professional women who have taken extended career break.

    • Gender balanced shortlists – such shortlists have been used for external recruitment at senior levels for over two years, helping TSB increase the number of women in senior management roles. This is being extended to all levels in TSB ensuring an equal share of the best possible men and women for the role.

  2. We will do more to support gender balanced progression at TSB:

    • Partners for partners – women often find the transition back to work difficult. Programmes which support people during key moments in life help prevent people leaving. That’s why TSB has set up a programme which pairs those going on parental leave with a ‘buddy’ who has been through the same or similar experience. So far we have made 19 ‘buddy matches’ for parents about to embark on parental leave.

    • Talent championing – in addition to existing mentoring programmes for Partners, regardless of gender, each Bank Executive Committee member is championing additional female partners from recognised ‘rising stars’. This approach will be used to drive better internal succession planning for women to reach executive roles.

  3. We will talk about gender balance in a transparent way:

    • Data alone does not drive change – this is why TSB has gone beyond the regulatory requirements, providing a full analysis of the core drivers for the Bank’s gender pay gap and the actions being taken to tackle them.

TSB’s gender pay gap

TSB has a mean gender pay gap of 31%. We are confident that TSB’s gender pay gap is not an equal pay issue; we know this because our approach to pay is gender neutral by design and our analysis shows that our pay gap is driven by the structure of our workforce.

Just one percentage point of TSB’s mean pay gap is due to the difference in pay between men and women within each grade.  The remaining 30 percentage points are a direct result of the make-up of our workforce. There are two reasons for this:

  • TSB has a significantly higher proportion of women (69%) than men (31%) at non-senior management roles
  • TSB has a higher number of men (59%) than women (41%) in our senior management roles. 

We’ve calculated that if TSB achieved a 50:50 gender mix in our non-senior management roles, our mean pay gap would reduce by 23 percentage points to 8%. And if we also had a 50:50 gender mix in our senior management grades our mean pay gap would reduce by a further seven percentage points to one percent.

For more information: TSB's gender balance matters report.

About TSB

TSB was built to bring more competition to UK banking and ultimately make banking better for all UK consumers. TSB only serves local customers and local businesses, to help fuel local economies, because communities thriving across Britain is a good thing for all of us.

We have a simple, straightforward and transparent banking model and make clear on our website how we operate and make money.  We offer the products and services people tell us they want, with none of the funny stuff people normally associate with traditional banks.

Our five million customers appear to notice:  TSB is Britain’s most recommended high street bank and has been recognised as one of the top five best big companies to work for in the UK in 2018.

For further information about TSB Bank plc, please visit our website

i All companies employing with more than 250 staff are required by the Government to publish their gender pay gap by 4 April 2018.

ii Equal pay and gender pay reporting are quite different.  Equal pay is the right for men and women to receive the same pay for doing the same or equivalent work.  The gender pay gap is the difference in pay between men and women across the total workforce – from front line staff to the CEO.  To calculate a company’s gender pay gap you add up all the salaries for men across the organisation and work out an average, then do the same for women, and look at the difference between the two.