(Bloomberg) -- The likelihood of being a woman at the very top of the UK’s financial and professional services was already vanishingly slight. Since the Covid pandemic, those chances have dwindled further, according to new research. 

A London School of Economics study comparing before and after the pandemic found that the proportion of women in the top 1% of earners in the industry has slipped to 19.4%, according to a report published Monday. This is 0.26 percentage points lower than before the outbreak. 

“We are going backwards, but I am not surprised,” said Grace Lordan, who co-authored the LSE study. “For progress to be made there needs to be a bigger shift towards recognizing that diversity is good for business.”

The findings come in the wake of the government rejecting calls in a parliamentary report for changes to enhance gender equality, such as increasing the number of firms that have to report the pay gap between men and women. That report had condemned progress in the sector as too slow, highlighting that finance has the worst gender pay gap of any sector and prevalent sexist behavior. 

Although the proportion of women in the top decile of earners has grown since before the pandemic, they still account for less than a third of the top 10% of earners. 

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