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Fewer top women earners in British finance since pandemic-report

FILE PHOTO: City of London financial district seen in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Women make up a smaller proportion of top earners in British financial and professional services than before the COVID-19 pandemic, research from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) showed on Monday.

Women made up 19.4% of the top 1% of earners in the sector on average between the first quarter of 2020 and the second quarter of 2023, down from 19.7% in the three years up to the first quarter of 2020, the research showed.

"The lack of progression of women to the most senior roles in financial and professional services is a major factor contributing to the gender pay gap," said Grace Lordan, an associate professor at the LSE.

"We are going backwards, but I am not surprised. For progress to be made, there needs to be a bigger shift towards recognising that diversity is good for business."

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Some of Britain's top financial firms pay women 28.8% less on average than male counterparts, according to salary data from 21 companies reviewed by Reuters last month.

However, the LSE research, based on the government's quarterly Labour Force Survey, showed that women made up 28.3% of the top 10% of earners between the first quarter of 2020 and the second quarter of 2023, a rise of 2.5% from the three-year period up to the first quarter of 2020.

(Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by Susan Fenton)