The Prime Minister has welcomed “ground-breaking” moves to increase the number of women in senior banking jobs.

HSBC, Santander, RBS and Lloyds are among finance firms committing to having at least 30 per cent of women in senior posts by 2021.

More than 70 firms, including 15 banks and 13 insurers, employing more than 375,000 workers, have signed up to the target.

A further 13, including Virgin Money and Legal and General, are aiming for an equal split between men and women in senior jobs.

Theresa May said: “The UK is a world-leader in financial services, but the sector could do even better if it made the most of many talented women who work in finance.

“Too few women get to the top and many don’t progress as quickly as they should or they leave the sector completely.

“I want to see a diverse sector run by talented men and women and I look forward to seeing many more businesses promoting women and helping to making the UK the best place in the world to do business.”

Financial services is the highest paid sector in the country, but it also has the widest gender wage gap at 39.5 per cent, twice as much as the economy as a whole.

A gender equality report last year by Lord Mervyn Davies, commissioned for the Government, suggested top companies should appoint women to a third of their boardrooms by 2020.