Citigroup to tackle pay issues for women and minorities

American banking giant is analysing pay equality issues in the US, Germany and UK

A Citigroup bank branch in Los Angeles.  Photographer: Troy Harvey/Bloomberg

A Citigroup bank branch in Los Angeles. Photographer: Troy Harvey/Bloomberg


Citigroup Inc said it would measure, publish and take steps to close the gaps between what it pays men and women in three countries and for US minorities.

The move follows a shareholder proposal filed by Boston-based Arjuna Capital and is the first of its kind by a big US bank. Citigroup also studied pay in the UK and Germany.

Citigroup will increase the pay of women and US minorities as well as others where raises are warranted to close the gap, the bank said in a statement. It also promised to do similar analyses in other countries where any of its more than 200,000 employees work.

The focus on pay “supports our efforts to attract and retain the best talent and reward performance,” Citigroup said. About half of the bank’s employees are women but only a quarter of senior executives are female. Eleven per cent of its US employees are African American, while only 1.6 per cent of senior executives are.

Citigroup said it analysed total compensation of its employees in the US, the UK and Germany, looking at factors such as job level, function and geography. It found that women on average earned 99 per cent of men’s pay and that US minorities earned 99 per cent of non-minorities’ pay.

The UK is requiring all companies, including foreign ones such as Citigroup, to report gender pay data publicly starting in April.

Arjuna managing partner Natasha Lamb said she was withdrawing the proposal as a result of Citigroup’s actions and hoped that other banks would follow suit. “Citigroup is stepping into a leadership role on the gender pay gap that we have not seen from any of its US financial peers,” she said.

Arjuna successfully pressed seven technology companies to disclose their gender pay gaps in 2016.

- Bloomberg