National firm Irwin Mitchell has narrowed its gender pay gap for the fourth year in a row, with female staff paid on average around 9% less than men.

According to the firm’s annual report, Irwin Mitchell’s mean gender pay gap - which shows the difference in average hourly pay for women compared with men - was 9.1% in 2020, down from the 10.3% the previous year.

Last year’s average gap across law firms of a comparable size was 18.8%. Not all top 50 law firms reported their pay gap in 2020, however, as the obligation was waived due to Covid-19.

Colleagues walking outside the office

Female staff at Irwin Mitchell are paid around 9% less than men on average

Source: iStock

At Irwin Mitchell, women make up 74% of employees, 47% of partners and 40% of the executive board. The firm's latest report shows that 73% of partner promotions went to female lawyers in 2020, while 80% of newly qualified solicitors and 74% of new starters overall were female.

On ethnicity, the firm reported a widening pay gap - 8.2% in favour of ethnic minority colleagues.

Susana Berlevy, chief people officer and chair of the Irwin Mitchell’s diversity board, said: ‘We’re delighted to report that our mean gender pay gap continues to move in a positive direction. There is still work to do, but we are making strong, tangible progress due to a real commitment to diversity and inclusion and the relentless focus and passion of IM diversity networks leads.'

Meanwhile, magic circle firm Linklaters has boosted its diversity targets after narrowly missing its gender goals over the past six years. In 2014, the practice pledged that 30% of partner promotions would go to women. However, it averaged 28% over the six subsequent promotion rounds.

Linklaters has now set a 40% gender diversity target for global partner promotions. Senior partner Charlie Jacobs said: ‘Our new gender diversity target will help us to build on our momentum and to further accelerate the pace of change, and is by no means our end goal as we strive for a more inclusive culture. We will continue to challenge ourselves by setting stretching targets, measuring progress, and holding our leaders accountable.'