Zopa has always striven to build a culture of diversity and equality. However, this is the first time that you will have seen us publish our gender pay gap. The UK government requires all companies in the UK that employ over 250 employees to publish their gender pay gap report. As Zopa comprises two legal entitles – Zopa Bank and Zopa Ltd, this is the first time that one of the entities – Zopa Ltd. has employed over 250 people. While Zopa Ltd. is the only entity that is required to officially log its gender pay gap on the government website, in this blog we have combined our numbers in the UK across the two entities as we believe this better reflects Zopa as a whole.
What is gender pay gap reporting?
Each year, all companies are required to report the following pay statistics taken on the 5th April “snapshot date”:
The difference in mean and median pay between all male and female employees, irrespective of role or seniority; expressed as a percentage over male earnings
The difference in mean and median bonus paid to male and female employees in the 12-month period prior to the snapshot date
The proportion of men and women receiving bonuses
The proportion of men and women in each pay quartile when divided into four quartiles ordered from lowest to highest pay
What’s the difference between gender pay and equal pay?
Gender pay gap is not the same as equal pay. The two are very different measures, gender pay gap is the difference between the average earnings of men and women over a period of time, irrespective of their role or seniority.
Equal pay compares the pay of a man and a woman who hold the same roles within a company – it’s an individual comparison.
Despite its name, the gender pay gap is more a measure of gender balance at all pay levels rather than equal individual remuneration.
Why do we have a gap at Zopa?
We have fewer women in our senior leadership and management roles, and a disproportionately higher number of females in non-technical, administrative and operational roles. In fact, 68% of our female population sit in the bottom two pay quartiles compared to 40% of our male population. This is also the reason why our median pay gap is significantly higher than our mean pay gap.
One reason for this is that we have an award-winning customer services and operations team at Zopa. Unlike many other financial institutions, we make a conscious decision to keep our customer services operations in-house, under the same legal entity. This is a key contributor to our customer centricity. However, this also contributes to our pay gap because we have a higher percentage of women than men in this area and operations roles generally command a lower market value than other roles in the financial or tech industry.
Indeed – in FinTech (like many others in our industry), we have a heavy reliance on technical roles that traditionally require a background in science, technology engineering and mathematical subjects. These roles tend to attract higher salaries and the talent pool is overwhelmingly male, due to the lack of women studying STEM subjects at university, in fact in 2018 only 26% of core STEM graduates were female.
As a consequence, women occupy only 23% of the core STEM occupations in the UK today. And when it comes to technology roles, the numbers are even lower with 17% of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) jobs being done by females and only 19% of IT technicians being female. Currently at Zopa, women occupy 18% of our STEM roles.
Closing the gap
Our numbers are far from ideal and it is evident that we have a long way to go in order to improve the gender pay gap at Zopa. We also recognise that change will not happen overnight and it will take time for results to show. It has been reported that due to the broad socio-economic factors influencing the pay gap – it will take over 100 years to address it in the UK. However, we have already started to take action to improve our gap in the short term with a view to ultimately closing the gap in the long term.
Women in Finance Charter
In September 2018, we signed up to the Women in Finance Charter and have committed to increase the percentage of women in senior management to 43% by 2021.
Recruitment and promotion
We are making progress on improving the diversity of our recruitment. 36% of all new joiners in 2018 were women compared to in 2017, where the number was 31%.
We have also significantly improved the gender diversity of our board, adding four female board members over the last 18 months. In addition, our senior management is now 37% female.
We check for and remove gender bias wording in our job adverts in order to appeal to a diverse candidate pool. We are aware that women can be put off applying for jobs which are described using traditionally masculine language. And we continue to train all of our staff to recognise and remove unconscious bias.
We openly offer flexible working and encourage both women and men to have a better work life balance. We believe it is important to set the tone from the top and so almost all of our senior management having some sort of a flexible working arrangement. This enables Zopians to have a better work life balance and allows both women and men to share the responsibilities of caregiving.
Reducing reliance on traditional education / career paths
At Zopa we understand that people may not have had the opportunity to study a particular subject or train in a particular area at University. By encouraging internal career mobility, we allow people to develop their careers in a variety of ways, for example we have trained customer service agents to become compliance officers, developers, lawyers and HR specialists. This not only makes Zopa a great place to work, but also starts to break down some of the systemic pipeline issues that we see in STEM professions.
In addition to continuing our progress in the above areas, we are also making the following commitments:
We will continue our efforts to be inclusive in our recruitment processes. We commit to presenting a pool of diverse candidate to our hiring managers and to ensuring that our interview panels are demographically representative. Additionally, we are making interview training mandatory for all our hiring managers and recruiters. Our aim is for Zopa to become an employer of choice for women in tech and finance.
We will regularly track our demographic data to ensure that we are improving our demographic split. By creating awareness, we will encourage our people managers to take ownership of creating gender balance on their teams and to think outside the box when looking for candidates to fill vacancies, with an aim to increase female representation in STEM roles and male representation in non-technical roles.
Partnering with external organisations
We have already started partnering with external organisations to position Zopa as an attractive employer for people from diverse backgrounds**.** In 2019, we look forward to furthering our efforts on this front by partnering with organisations that support this aim.
We believe that these actions will help us to continue building the culture of diversity and equality which is so important to us.
At Zopa we believe that diversity is key to a successful business which reflects and represents the customer base it serves. Therefore, it is critical that we play our part in closing the gender pay gap in the UK. Our focus, moving forward, is to continue to develop and evolve the practices that will enable us to attract and retain a more balanced workforce at all levels.