Pay gaps increase in Linklaters over 2020 as leading reason for disparity lingers

The firm said that the pay gaps reflected “the composition of its workforce”

Pay gaps increase in Linklaters over 2020 as leading reason for disparity lingers

Pay gaps have increased in Linklaters over 2020 as the leading reason for the disparity lingers in spite of the initiatives announced by the firm to improve diversity in its ranks.

The firm announced in its 2020 UK Diversity Pay Reporting report that across the entire UK workforce, including its equity partners, the mean gender pay gap climbed from 62.6% in 2019 to 62.9% in 2020. Among employees, the mean gender gap in terms of bonuses received soared from 47.4% to 52% in that period.

Meanwhile, the mean pay gap in terms of ethnicity across the workforce jumped from 32.9% in 2019 to 34.6% in 2020, although the gap with regards to bonuses received by employees dropped from 41.9% in 2019 down to 29.9% in 2020.

Linklaters said that demographics drove the pay gap, rather than “any underlying equal pay issues.”

“The most significant cause of our gender pay gap remains unchanged. It reflects the composition of our workforce. We have more men in the most senior roles and a higher proportion of women in secretarial and junior business team roles, which predominantly fall within our lowest pay quartile,” the firm said. “Whilst these roles are competitively rewarded by reference to the market, the fact that so many of them are held by women has the effect of reducing the average pay and bonuses of women in our firm.”

Nonetheless, in 2020 the firm also failed to meet its goal of ensuring that at least 30% of its new partners each year would be women – the first time this occurred in three years.

Linklaters also reported that while BAME employees were “represented broadly equally across all four pay quartiles,” there was “a smaller number in the most senior roles.”

“Given the relatively small size of our BAME population, changes within our BAME group can have a disproportionate impact on our pay gap figures,” the firm said.

Last year, Linklaters unveiled its 2020 Race Action Plan, where it committed to the recruitment and retention of diverse talent. Beginning with the 2020/2021 recruitment cycle, the firm vowed to take on 35% ethnic minority trainees per year, with Black trainees comprising 10%. The firm also announced its aim to facilitate the “proportional retention of white, Black and underrepresented minority ethnic” lawyers across all levels.

Linklaters also committed to diversity at the partnership level by announcing the following targets:

  • 15% Black and underrepresented minority ethnic partners by 2025
  • 15% new underrepresented minority ethnic partners each year
  • Five times as many Black partners across its global offices by 2027

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