Fallen & Over it?: Allen & Overy has reported an increase in its gender pay gap

October 18, 2019

2 min read

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What's going on here?

Allen & Overy has reported that it has a widening gender pay gap, despite efforts to reduce it.

What does this mean?

The gender pay gap is the average difference between salaries for men and women; the latter are generally paid less. Government regulations require organisations with 250 or more employees to publish their gender pay gap figures by the end of each financial year.

According to figures released by Allen & Overy, the mean combined gender pay gap for UK partners and employees is now 61.5%, up from 61.2% last year. Discrepancies in pay among lawyers and senior lawyers have also increased slightly. The pay gap among UK senior lawyers rose by 0.4% from last year, while amid lawyers it increased by 3.5%. Among partners, the gender pay gap remains unchanged at 15.9%. However, more positively, the difference between the average hourly rates for male and female employees in its London office fell from 20% to 17.1%.

What's the big picture effect?

Allen & Overy has claimed that “having significantly more men in our partnership, and at more senior levels, has the effect of widening the gender pay gap”. Therefore, they are hoping to create “real progress” by improving the gender balance at the most senior levels of the business. According to their report, the magic circle firm aims to have at least 30% women in the partnership selection process each year and wants at least 30% of its global partners to be women.

The firm has already successfully delivered on previous aims, for example, its goal to have at least 30% of women in leadership positions in 2018. Furthermore, Allen & Overy is operating development programmes for women at all levels of the business, as well as listening exercises to ensure it understands the difficulties female staff face in the workplace.

International firm DWF is the latest to announce ambitious diversity targets, aiming for women to hold at least 30% of senior leadership positions by 2022. With this in mind, is Allen & Overy doing enough to compete with the diversity targets of its competitors? Ultimately, the corrective action the firm needs to take is not just salary reviews. Instead, a way must be found to retain women later into their careers, so that a better gender balance exists at more senior levels.

Report written by Sarina Johal

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