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Different origins, same excuses: Kirkland, Bakers, Weil Gotshal and Mayer Brown reveal UK gender pay gap stats

US-based firms Kirkland & Ellis, Baker McKenzie, Weil Gotshal & Manges and Mayer Brown have revealed the gulf between male and female pay for their staff in the UK, with all four firms blaming fewer senior women employees for the significant disparity between genders.

As per previous disclosures from UK-based firms, all cite the preponderance of females in secretarial roles or fewer females in senior roles as the root cause of the disparity. But unlike some of the UK firms that have come under pressure for full disclosure lately, none of the firms disclosed gender pay gap for partner pay.

Kirkland’s report showed that male employees are paid on average 33.2% more than women, a gulf which widens to 68.2% on a median basis. Men took home on average 62.3% more in bonuses with the median pointing to a 74.3% advantage to male bonuses.

Meanwhile the proportion of women who claimed a bonus edged ahead of the men slightly with 77.9% of women taking home a bonus against 77.4% of men.

Men made up 62.3% of the highest-paid workforce while women accounted for 52.5% in the upper-mid pay bracket. Women also dominated the lower-mid and lower quartiles, representing 72% and 65.6% of the staff respectively.

Weil’s report, published on Wednesday (28 March) revealed the firm pays its female staff on average 38% less than males, a disparity which widens to 53% when calculated on a median basis. Male employees received an average 50% more in bonuses, while the median figure puts male bonuses 55.8% ahead of women’s bonuses.

The percentage of women receiving bonuses was slightly higher than men, with 86% of women receiving a bonus and 85% of men getting a bonus.

Men made up the significant majority of those paid in the upper quartile, representing 68% of the highest pay bracket. Women made up 60% and 70% of the upper-mid quartile and lower-mid quartile respectively, while 64% of those in the lowest pay bracket were women.

‘If we exclude those in secretarial roles from our gender pay calculations, our mean gender pay gap reduces to 24.95% and the median to 7.28%’, the report states.

Weil said in a statement: ‘As with many of our peer firms, we need to continue our efforts to retain women in senior positions, particularly amongst our lawyers.  For many years, Weil has had a series of initiatives in place to develop, advance and promote our talented female lawyers, and we will remain focused on improving our results.  The Firm realises that there is still much work to be done in the legal industry and beyond and believes this reporting requirement will help create greater parity in pay across genders’, Weil said in the statement.

Mayer Brown, meanwhile, revealed a less stark contrast in gender pay, reporting that men receive on average 15.3% more than women, a gap that widens to 34.2% on a median basis.

More men took home bonuses than women, with 38% and 30% receiving a bonus respectively.  Men make up 56% of those employees in the upper-pay bracket and 47% of the upper-mid quartile. Women represent 66% and 73% of the lower-mid and lowest pay brackets respectively.

Baker McKenzie also disclosed lower gender pay gap figures for its staff but left partners out. UK male employees are paid 17% more on average than female staff. The gap raises to 32% when the median figure is considered.

The firm said the hourly gap ‘disappears altogether when associate roles are examined on a standalone basis’. But it conceded there is a ‘small hourly pay gap’ in its business services roles reflecting the fact it has too few women in the most senior positions.

The bonus mean gap at Bakers is 40% on a mean basis and 29% on a median basis.

For more on US firms in London, see our latest Global London report (£)