Linklaters has narrowed gender and ethnicity pay gaps, according to a report published this week – but the magic circle firm says that despite moving in the right direction, it is not where it wants to be.

According to the firm’s 2021 UK Gender Pay Report, the mean gender pay gap for employees, including equity partners, stands at 61.9% in 2021, down from 62.9% in 2020. The mean employee pay gap, excluding equity partners, is 18.8% in 2021, down from 20.7% in 2020. The median pay gap excluding equity partners stands at 34.5% in 2021, down from 38.8% in 2020. The median pay gap for employees including equity partners stands at 33.6% in 2021, down from 39.5% in 2020.

Aedamar Comiskey

Comiskey: Moving in the right direction 'but not yet where we want to be'

The report also points out that the gender target at partnership level was increased from 30% to 40%, which the firm met in last year’s partner elections.

The firm said: ‘Whilst our gender pay gap has decreased compared to 2020, it continues to exist due to the composition of our workforce. We have a higher proportion of women in secretarial and junior business team roles, which predominantly fall within our lowest pay quartile. Whilst these roles are competitively rewarded by reference to the market, the fact that so many of them are held by women has the effect of reducing the average pay and bonuses of women in our firm.’

Senior partner Aedamar Comiskey added: 'We are moving in the right direction but we're not yet where we want or need to be.'

The mean ethnicity pay gap for employees, excluding equity partners, stands at 6.4% in 2021, down from 10.8% in 2020. The mean pay gap for employees including equity partners stands at 36.5% in 2021, compared to 34.6% in 2020. The firm said pay gaps had improved on both the mean and, significantly, the median basis across the firm, ‘with black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals progressing through the firm and occupying more senior roles’. The median pay gap excluding equity partners stood at -22.4% in 2021 compared to -4.8% in 2020. For employees including equity partners, the median figure stands at -0.1% in 2021 compared to 4.9% in 2020.

Meanwhile, the firm revealed that it has exceeded the annual targets in its race action plan for recruitment and partnership elections. However, targets were not met in relation to retaining diverse talent and the firm said this would be its focus in year two of the action plan.