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Gender diversity: Allen & Overy faring better than rivals as it reveals 20% pay gap

Allen & Overy has become the latest magic circle firm to reveal the sizeable gulf between male and female employee earnings.

The firm on Monday (12 March) published its figures for gender pay brackets ahead of the 4 April deadline required by legislation brought in last year.

The numbers reveal that Allen & Overy paid its male staff on average more than 42% in bonuses than women for the 12 months to 5 April 2017, with the median bonus figure standing at 23%.

The firm’s female employees were paid on average 19.8% less per hour than their male counterparts, a gap which widened to 27.4% when the median figure was calculated.

The firm said the gap reflected the gender composition of its workforce, which sees more than 25% of staff in London are women in administrative roles. ‘We benchmark our salaries to ensure our people are rewarded fairly; however, the high proportion of women in these roles has a significant impact on our gender pay gap’, the firm’s statement said.

The pay disparity was greater in the upper quartile – the highest-paid employees at the London office – where women are paid on average 13.6% less than their male peers. In the lower quartile of earners, the gap moves to -4.9%, where female staff are paid more than males on average.

Allen & Overy has fared better than fellow Magic Circle firm Linklaters, which last month revealed that it paid its male staff members nearly 60% more in bonuses than women. The firm’s female employees were paid on average 23.2% less than male colleagues. The gap widened to 39.1% when the median figure was considered.

The firm added: ‘Our aim is to reduce our gender pay gap year on year, but in order to achieve real progress our focus must be on improving the gender balance at the more senior levels within our business.’

Allen & Overy insists that is has a strong representation of women in leadership positions, representing one third of the elected board members; 30% of the executive committee; 50% of the risk committee; and 42% of the people & performance board.

On the other hand, it recognises the perennial issue of failing to retain and promote enough of the firm’s best women. The firm insists it has renewed its gender strategy in 2016 and in 2018 to address this problem and set up a gender advisory committee, as well as stepping up reporting across all offices to monitor the progression of female talent.