Magic circle firm Freshfields has reduced its gender pay gap for partners and employees to 57.2% - but its ethnicity pay gap has risen to over 65%. 

According to figures published today, the mean gender pay gap for Freshfields partners and employees stands at 57.2%, down from 57.6% in 2018 and 60.4% in 2017. The discrepancy in associate pay is far lower, however, at 3.2%. For partners, the gender pay gap is 10.4%, down from 18.3% last year.

Freshfields said the gender pay gap had been narrowed by the hiring of women in senior roles, and higher compensation for some women in the most senior positions. It added: ‘We have seen a reduction in the pay gap for partners driven in the main by fewer men at the top of the lockstep model compared to the previous year.’

In its annual report Freshfields said race and ethnicity is now its ‘particular focus’ and it is taking steps ‘to encourage self-reporting on ethnicity and other characteristics, to increase our response rate and ensure our data is as robust as possible for future reporting’.

On average, black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) employees are paid 19.9% less an hour than white employees, up from 12.1% last year. When partners are included, the ethnicity pay gap jumps to 66.4%, up from 58.3% last year.

Freshfields said: ‘As it was last year, our pay gap is predominately driven by the fact that we have relatively few senior BAME professionals at the firm, something we are working to address.’

Allen & Overy and Linklaters have reported overall gender pay gaps of 61.5% and 62.6% respectively, while their employee gender pay gaps stand at 17.1% and 19.5%. Clifford Chance and Slaughter and May have yet to publish figures.