Citigroup will boost job compensation for women and minorities in a bid to close pay gaps in the U.S., United Kingdom, and Germany, becoming the first U.S. bank to respond to shareholder pressure about the inequalities.
The New York-based financial company announced the effort Monday, saying it had conducted a survey in the three countries, where it found that women and minorities are paid only slightly less than their male and non-minority counterparts.
On average, Citi found, women and minorities are paid 99% of what men and non-minorities are paid, respectively. The median annual pay for women who work full time in the U.S. is about 80 percent of men in similar jobs, a difference of more than $10,000, the Department of Labor says.
"As part of this year's compensation cycle, we are making appropriate increases to help close the gaps for women and U.S. minorities," Michael Murray, Citigroup's head of human resources, said in a Monday blog post. "We will also adjust compensation for other individuals where the analysis determined increases were warranted."
The company also said it would adjust compensation for other individuals, where the analysis determined increases were necessary.
Citi, along with other U.S. banks and credit card companies, has been under investor pressure to disclose how much less it pays women than men.
Employers in the UK will be required to publish gender pay gaps by April. Banks have been among the largest offenders, with median pay gaps averaging 24 percent, according to a joint statement by Citi and activist investor Arjuna Capital on Monday.
Arjuna asked Citi's shareholders last year to vote in favor of a proposal requiring the bank to address the gender pay gap.
But on Monday, Arjuna withdrew that proposal, saying that Citi's announcement represented a major shift for U.S. banks and credit card companies.
"Citigroup is stepping into a leadership role on the gender pay gap that we have not seen from any of its U.S. financial peers," said Arjuna Capital Managing Partner Natasha Lamb.
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