By Ellen Wulfhorst
NEW YORK, Jan 16 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Female employees at Citigroup Inc around the world are paid just 71 percent of what men earn, the giant bank said on Wednesday, declaring its intentions to close its gender pay gap.
A Citigroup shareholder group that sought data on the pay gap said the bank is the first U.S. company to disclose such figures.
The U.S.-based bank employs more than 200,000 people in more than 100 countries, and more than half those employees are female, it said.
Tackling the 29 percent gap means increasing the number of women in senior and higher-paying roles, promoting women to at least 40 percent of assistant vice president through managing director jobs, Citigroup said in a statement.
Citigroup said it disclosed the data in response to a shareholder proposal from Arjuna Capital, an investment management firm.
The bank said its "raw pay gap" showed median pay for females globally was 71 percent of the median for men.
The raw gap measures the difference in median total compensation not adjusted for job function, level and geography.
With those adjustments, women are paid an average of 99 percent of what men are paid, it said.
"We have work to do, but we're on a path that I'm confident will allow us to make meaningful progress," Sara Wechter, head of human resources, said in a statement.
In the United States overall, women last year working full-time year-round earned 80 percent of what men earned, according to commonly cited data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Congress outlawed pay discrimination based on gender in 1963, yet public debate over why wages still lag drastically for women has snowballed in recent years.
Globally, the World Economic Forum reported an economic gap of 58 percent between the sexes for 2016, costing the global economy $1.2 trillion annually. Last January, Citigroup said it was increasing compensation for women and minorities to bridge pay gaps in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, becoming the first big U.S. bank to respond to a shareholder push to analyze and disclose its gender pay gap.
This past year it expanded its pay equity review beyond those three countries to its workforce globally, it said.
(Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst, Editing by Jason Fields
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