Bank sorry for Valentine's offer of vacuums 'for her'
A Valentine's Day special deal for HSBC staff in Hong Kong offering discounted laptops 'for him' but vacuum cleaners and kitchen appliances 'for her' has angered employees over the sexist implications of the campaign.
The offer has drawn criticism in Hong Kong and in London, where it was posted in an internal chatroom.
The multi-page advertisement, described as an 'HSBC Staff Offer' and produced by an external company, offers discounts on a range of goods to Hong Kong workers at Europe's biggest bank.
On pages festooned with pink heart drawings, the 'FOR HIM' section offers discount laptops as well as a GoPro camera and wireless headphones, while the 'FOR HER' gifts include five different vacuum cleaners, a blender and a kitchen water tap.
"The offer is from a third party source who manage their own marketing materials. HSBC is committed to gender diversity in the workplace," said a spokeswoman for the bank.
The controversy over the sexist implications comes amid a widening debate about sexism and gender pay disparity in banking and wider industry.
HSBC disclosed in December that its gender pay gap - which measures the difference between the average hourly salary of men and women - grew to 61pc in the year to April 2018, up from 59pc a year earlier.
The lender - which employs more than 40,000 people in the UK - had the widest gender pay gap of any large British company in 2017.
HSBC said it reflected the fact there were fewer women in senior roles and more in junior ones, indicating an industry-wide problem.
The bank announced it was taking steps to bridge the gap, including targeting an increase in the ratio of women in senior management roles to 30pc by 2020, up from the current 23pc.