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Mind the gap: Starling Bank’s gender pay gap closes, but only just

In 2020, women employed by the bank earned just £78.83 for every £100 earned by a man.

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Anne Boden/Starling Bank

Despite being founded and run by a woman, championing gender diversity and having several high profile female executives, Starling Bank still has a sizeable gender pay gap.

In 2020, women employed by Starling earned £78.73 on average for every £100 earned by men, in 2019 the figure was £71.91.

Despite the pay gap, Starling is employing more women in management and leadership roles than ever before.

Women now account for 26 per cent of the top-paid roles in 2019, up from 23 per cent the year before.

Starling has also employed more women in the lowest-paid roles. There was a 12 per cent increase in the number of women in the lowest level jobs in 2020, with there now being an equal number of men and women occupying entry-level positions at the bank.

In a blog post, Starling wrote: “Our goal at Starling is eventually to eliminate the gap. Not only is this right and fair, we believe it is likely to make for a more successful company. And that, in turn, should mean a better service for our customers.”

"If 2020 was the year of the pandemic, it was also the year when the world was reminded of the need to work harder on diversity on all fronts. At Starling, we’re committed to narrowing the representation gap to produce more racial and ethnic diversity, particularly at a management level."

The digital bank said that it is implementing a Starling Management Programme in 2021 to help encourage staff members lower down the ranks to apply for management positions.

Starling also emphasised that the programme will be inclusive for all and will be aimed at bettering the diversity of its management team, not just with gender. 

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There was some initial confusion about Starling’s gender pay gap figures. 

In a (soon to be updated) blog postStarling had previously claimed that in 2019, women working for the digital bank earned £78.82 for every £100 earned by a man, rather than the £71.91 it is now claiming.

The earlier figures also showed a larger pay gap when using the midpoint of salaries, claiming that women earned £86.17 for every £100 earned by a man in 2019—figures that, if accurate, would have shown a widening gender pay gap in 2020 as the figure fell to £80.

However, the bank says these earlier figures were only provisional and is now updating them to reflect the reality of its 2019 gender pay gap.

Alexandra Frean, chief corporate affairs officer for Starling Bank, told AltFi: “We haven’t made as much progress as we had hoped because the provisional data we were [previously] using was very wrong.”

Again, Starling clarified to AltFi that the data used in the original blog post was only provisional and it didn’t realise just how incorrect it was. 

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