Magic circle firm Allen & Overy has kicked off pay gap reporting season, announcing slightly narrower gender and ethnicity pay gaps than last year.

According to the firm’s annual report, female employees and partners earn 59.9% less than their male colleagues on average, down from 61.5% last year. The discrepancy was attributed to the fact that Allen & Overy has a higher proportion of men than women in its partnership, as well as a higher number of men in the most senior partner positions.

Eight out of 10 Allen & Overy partners are male, while 57% of senior lawyers at the firm are women.

The employee gender pay gap (which excludes partnership figures) in London is now 16.1%, down from 20% in 2018.

On ethnicity, the firm announced that black, Asian or minority ethnic partners and employees earn 22.4% less than their white colleagues on average. Last year, the pay gap stood at 23.1%.

Data around disability was also published for the first time this year, with the overall disability pay gap standing at 20.2%. These figures are based on the 74% of people who have recorded their disability information – with 3% identifying as having a disability.

Senior partner Wim Dejonghe said: ‘The danger in times of economic stress and social upheaval is that organisations understandably become fixated on the business of survival and let other important issues drop down the list of priorities, or even fall off the agenda altogether.

‘This is particularly a risk with diversity and inclusion – but having made some clear progress against the targets we set ourselves several years ago, we cannot afford to let that happen.’