Developing Diversity: Clifford Chance releases more diversity figures than legally required

April 5, 2019

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Diversity at Clifford Chance icon

2 min read

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What's going on here?

Clifford Chance has opted to release sexuality, ethnicity and disability figures alongside the required gender pay gap data.

What does this mean?

The Magic Circle firm went above and beyond the requirements, also releasing partner earnings (including bonuses). This is not the first time Clifford Chance has exceeded the statutory requirements, as last year they were the first Magic Circle law firm to include partner income in their report.

The 2019 figures show that the pay gap has increased across many categories. However, when considering partners alone, the gender pay gap has slightly narrowed to 26%  from last year’s 27%. The sexuality gap is currently at 36%, the disability gap is at 62% and the ethnicity gap is at 52%.

What's the big picture effect?

Since 2017, organisations with over 250 staff have been required to publish specific figures about differences in pay across genders. Following the overall large gaps reported last year, there was severe backlash from MPs who criticised that partners were excluded from the figures. They also commented on the “painfully slow” progress on diversity in law firms.

Whilst at first the figures for this year may appear problematic, this annual requirement has been driving slow but steady progress. Change will take time, as firms have to address deep-rooted issues effectively.

Clifford Chance has shown that it is an improvement is possible and that firms are willing to make changes. Michael Bates (UK Partner) has stated that “transparency is the key to making progress in diversity.” He recognises that the firm’s figures remain “unsatisfactory” but the firm is “committed to improving them”. The firm has made a number of changes that support this. Clifford Chance (alongside Linklaters) has added gender reassignment surgery for staff cover under its private medical insurance plan. Changes like this highlight that, while it may be slow, progress is happening.

Report written by Natasha D

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