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Unequal pay in finance is no surprise to many who work in the City, but women might have a new tool for fighting it thanks to Stacey Macken, a former broker at BNP Paribas in London. Macken fought the French lender in court for more than eight years for equal pay, and now her victory may encourage other women to come forward.
In addition to being awarded 2 million pounds ($2.3 million) after a tribunal ruled Macken had been a victim of “spiteful and vindictive” bosses, it also ordered BNP to conduct an extensive audit of its London staff to consider whether men were being paid more than women for the same job. It’s an unprecedented order for a UK investment bank and could have tangible results in the continuous battle for equal pay.
In this week’s In the City podcast, reporter Jonathan Browning unpacks the details of the case and ruling, and we hear from Stacey Macken and her barrister Sheila Aly as they share their experiences of what they call a “David and Goliath” battle.
“I requested the equal pay audit as part of my remedy because I became aware that there was a wider problem,” Macken says. “But basically I just wanted to make sure that no other woman at BNP would have to go through what I went through.”
Women in finance in the UK still make significantly less than men, and the pay gap is especially wide in investment banking, where some of the highest-paid employees work. Men working in finance and insurance made 25% more than women in 2020, a Bloomberg News analysis of government data shows.
As for the audit itself—it hasn’t been released, but its impact is already being felt. “It’s a power that no one really realized was available to them,” Browning says. “Every single HR and employment relations team is now aware that that is a remedy that could be requested of any other bank.”
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