Mind The Gap: Gender Pay Gap in The City

April 18, 2021

2 min read

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What's going on here?

The latest reports from City law firms show that there has been little progress in narrowing the gender pay gap.

What does this mean?

Recent reports providing some of the City law firms’ latest gender pay gap figures demonstrate that progress to narrow the gender pay gap is slow indeed. In 2017, the government introduced that all companies, which includes law firms, with more than 250 employees must report on their gender pay gap annually. Numerous City firms have made their latest gender pay gap figures public, with results seeming to be similar to those released last year, meaning that not much has changed in a year. Hogan Lovells reported a 31.7% mean gender pay gap for employees which increased from 18.7% from the previous year, due to an additional bonus being paid early according to the firm. There was a drop of 1.8% in relation to the firm’s combined pay gap for employees and partners, which came in at 56%. Clyde & Co reported that their overall gender pay gap increased marginally to 57.5%. However, their partner gender pay gap dropped from 45.5% to 27.7% the previous year. Clifford Chance managed to narrow the overall gender pay gap slightly from last year’s 65.7% to 63.5%, while the partner pay gap is down from 27.5% to 25.7%. Irwin Mitchell also published their latest figures with a reduction of 1.2% in its gender pay gap. 

What's the big picture effect?

From these latest figures, it is evident that City law firms are continuing to work towards reducing their gender pay gaps. The requirement that large companies reveal their gender pay gap to the world, forcing them to explain why there are such gaps, does seem to be an effective way of narrowing the difference. However, it is still clear from the reports, especially those with figures showing wide gender pay gaps, that many of the positions higher up the chain of command are held by men. This has been worsened by the pandemic with research showing that homeschooling and extra childcare responsibilities have had a harsh impact on women’s employment. Not only has the pandemic negatively impacted the progress being made to narrow the gender pay gap by City firms, but it has also led to changes by the government in relation to the annual reports. In March 2020, the government suspended reporting for that year and although reporting is back this year, there is a six-month extension, giving firms more time. Unfortunately, it seems as though tackling gender inequality in the workplace has taken a backwards step during the pandemic. However, it is encouraging to see early publications of the gender pay gap by some of the City law firms and it will be interesting to compare these with the figures from the rest of the firms that follow later in the year. 

Report written by Imogen Wilson

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