Law firms are beginning to bow to pressure by including partners in their gender pay gap reporting – however they are yet to offer a comparison with the workforce as a whole.
US-headquartered Reed Smith and national firm Mills & Reeve have both included equity partners in their reports, published this week.
Reed Smith said that although the legislation does ‘not require (or allow)’ it to include partners it was ‘conscious that partners make up a significant portion of our population’. According to the figures, male equity partners earn 0.8% more than females and receive 21.5% more in bonuses. The firm notes that the average hourly rate of pay for female equity partners is actually higher than that of male equity partners, though it does not give a breakdown in figures.
For the rest of the workforce, which incorporates associates and business support roles, the pay gap is 14.8% in favour of men. Male staff on average receive 27.1% more in bonuses.
The report notes that 5% more female employees took home a bonus during the year ending 5 April 2017.
As with other firms that have reported so far it is recognised that women are more heavily represented in the lower pay quartiles and that men occupy fewer administrative roles.
Mills & Reeve said its gender pay gap in the partnership is 10.5%.
Excluding partners, the firm’s mean gender pay gap is 20.1% and the median gender pay gap is 34.2%. The mean gender bonus pay gap is 42.6%.
Claire Clarke, managing partner, said: ‘Although we are confident that we pay men and women fairly for equivalent roles, and are pleased that the gender pay gap for each of our four pay quartiles is small, our results echo many professional services firms in that we have a large proportion of women employed in the lower pay quartile and more men in senior higher paid business services roles.’
Businesses with 250 employees or more are now required under the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 to report specific figures about their gender pay gaps by 4 April.
Firms that operate under the partnership model have come under fire for excluding partners on the grounds that they are not employees.
City leaders claimed that omitting highly-paid, mostly male equity partners paints a misleading picture of equality.
In response, the ‘big-four’ accountancy firms; KPMG, PwC, EY and Deloitte, all updated their statistics to show how incoporating partners’ earnings altered the overall pay gap. This more than trebled the percentage gap at PwC, from 13.7% to 43.8%. At Deloitte the mean gap rose from 18.2% to 43.2%; at EY from 19.7% to 38.1%; and at KPMG from 22% to 42%.