Five more top UK law firms report gender pay gap details as reporting deadline approaches

Travers Smith, Mishcon de Reya, Addleshaw Goddard, Gowling WLG and DAC Beachcroft have become the latest UK top 50 law firms to reveal their gender pay gap data.

The latest disclosures come three weeks before the 4 April reporting deadline for all organisations employing more than 250 people. To date, about one third of the UK top 50 have published their figures.

Travers Smith’s gender pay gap report has revealed that average hourly pay for female staff is 14.7% lower than men, while bonus pay is on average 37.8% lower for women.

However, when using the median average – the mid-point pay rate of all male and female employees – bonus pay for women is 78.4% lower than men.

Travers HR director Moira Slape explained: “When you position the male and female employee populations, separately, in order of salary from lowest to highest, the mid-point role for males has a significantly higher bonus earning potential compared with the female mid-point. The female mid-point is a more junior role, whereas the male mid-point falls on a senior business services role and the difference between the two drives the gap.”

Slape added that size of the bonus gap is also influenced by the fact that about 90% of the firm’s part-time employees are women.

Travers’ report also contains specific details of the gender pay at associate, senior associate and senior counsel level. Female senior associates are paid on average 5.1% less than their male counterparts, with female associates receiving 1.3% less. Conversely, female senior counsel are paid on average 1.7% more than men.

The firm’s report notes that it is taking steps to close these gaps, including putting together a gender policy review committee, led by managing partner David Patient, which dictates influential policies on issues such as maternity transition and shared parental leave, while the firm has been encouraging staff to work more flexibly under its agile working programme.

Meanwhile, Mishcon de Reya‘s report reveals that unlike most other UK top 50 firms, it has more women in the top two quartiles of of its non-partner staff, with 58% women in the top quartile and 62% women in the upper-middle quartile.

However, as with most other law firms, women dominate the lowest earning groups, with 81% in the lower-middle quarter and 68.5% in the bottom quartile. The report explains that its secretarial and legal operations roles are 97% staffed by women, with these roles making up 19% of the positions held by women at the firm.

The firm’s average hourly pay gap is 17.3%, with women receiving on average 41.9% less in bonuses.

Kevin GoldManaging partner Kevin Gold said: “We strive to be and will continue to work towards being a workplace that is representative of the society in which we live. We want to close the gender pay gap and to continue to retain and attract extraordinary talent.”

Elsewhere, Addleshaw Goddard has reported an average hourly pay gap of 23.8% in favour of men, with average bonuses paid to men 43.2% higher than those for women.

HR director Niki Lawson explained: “Our pay gap is not an equal pay issue, but in common with many others in our sector, our pay and bonus gaps arise because of a higher proportion of females in lower paid, administrative and junior roles and more men in senior positions.

“Closing the gap is something we are addressing in a number of ways, whether through training to remove unconscious bias, female development initiatives, enthusiasm for flexible working or support for working parents.”

Gowling WLG‘s report, which covers approximately 950 non-partner staff in the Anglo-Canadian firm’s UK offices in London and Birmingham, shows the firm has a gender salary gap of 25% and a gender bonus gap of 64%.

The report shows that 78% of firm’s lowest-paid UK employees are women, both in the bottom quartile and the the lower-middle quartile. As with other firms, its report explains that it has “recruited more females than males into our business services, secretarial and legal support roles, which have a lower hourly rate, leading to the overall gender pay gap”.

Steps the firm has taken to counter these gaps have included setting a target of achieving a 30% female partnership by 2026, as well as initiatives such as unconscious bias training, maternity coaching, agile working and mentoring.

DAC Beachcroft (DACB) has also published its figures, revealing that female employees are paid on average 27.1% less than men and that bonus pay for women is on average 44.8% lower than men.

The firm noted that a key factor behind its bonus pay gap was the fact that 22% of its bonus recipients work part-time, and of these, 95% are women.

Senior partner Virginia Clegg commented: “We have committed to achieving greater diversity within the leadership of the firm, which, from a gender perspective, means we are working to retain, inspire and develop more women into senior roles.”

Currently, men make up 70% of DACB’s group board, 67% of its executive board and 73% of its business services executive. The firm’s report also notes that the majority of its promotions in May 2017 were female.