The Treasury is scrambling to sign up remaining banks ahead of radical proposals on gender balance set to be unveiled by the chief executive of Virgin Money Jayne-Anne Gadhia at the Bank of England on Tuesday.
The challenger bank boss has been carrying out a nine month investigation into gender equality in the banking industry and is expected to recommend bank chiefs have their bonuses tied to increasing the number of senior women on staff.
However, City A.M. understands some banks have yet to sign up to the voluntary industry charter.
Other recommendations for the Treasury initiated review, laid out in November last year, include firms reporting publicly on their gender diversity, banks setting their own gender balance targets and requirements for an executive responsible for gender, diversity and inclusion at every bank.
“It should be a wake-up call to everyone in financial services that fewer women progress to senior levels than in any other industry in the UK,” said Gadhia in November. “There are many views as to why that might be. Motherhood, remuneration, the ‘old boys’ network’ are all mentioned, but only scratch the surface of an issue that has been hidden for too long.”
The government will not enforce the recommendations on banks but the threat of being named and shamed is expected to act as a motivator.
Women now fill over 25 per cent of non-executive positions at FTSE 100 companies, a target set by former business secretary Vince Cable in 2011. Last year Lord Mervyn Davies published his final conclusion on efforts to bring more women onto the boards of large British companies, calling for the level of female representation at board level to rise from 25 per cent to 33 per cent by the end of the decade.
Since his first report in 2011, all FTSE 100 companies have hired at least one female director.