Gender and ethnicity pay gaps narrow at magic circle firm

updated on 17 January 2022

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The latest reporting from magic circle firm Linklaters LLP indicates that its gender and ethnicity pay gaps have narrowed from 2020, despite remaining far from where its wants or needs to be, according to senior partner Aedamar Comiskey.

The firm’s official 2021 UK Gender Pay Report shows that its gender pay gap has decreased compared to 2020. The mean gender pay gap for employees, which includes equity partners, fell by 1% to 61.9% in 2021, while the mean employee pay gap, which excludes equity partners, now sits at 18.8%, down from 20.7% in 2020.

The median pay gap, excluding equity partners, fell from 38.8% in 2020 to 34.51% in 2021, while the median pay gap, including equity partners, fell from 39.5% in 2020 to 33.6% in 2021.

The firm explained: “While our gender pay gap has decreased compared to 2020, it continues to exist due to the composition of our workforce. We have a higher proportion of women in secretarial and junior business team roles, which predominantly fall within our lowest pay quartile. 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.”

Meanwhile, the firm also voluntarily reported information relating to its ethnicity pay gap. The mean ethnicity pay gap at the firm, which excludes equity partners, fell 4.4% from 10.8% in 2020 to 6.4% in 2021, while the mean pay gap, including equity partners, actually increased slightly from 34.6% in 2020 to 36.5% in 2021.

Following Linklater’s 2020 pledge to “improve representation of Black and underrepresented minority ethnic lawyers and business team members”, the firm said that its “ethnicity pay gap report shows an increase in numbers of Black and ethnic minority individuals progressing through the firm and occupying more senior positions”.

That said, the firm also recognised that, despite this progress, there remains a “serious underrepresentation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals” in the most senior levels of the firm.”

In March 2021, Linklaters adopted the Halo Code – the UK’s first Black hair code, which “explicitly protects employees who come to work with natural hair and protective hairstyle associated with their racial, ethnic, and cultural identities.

You can find out more about the firm’s adoption of the Halo Code in LCN’s News, plus head to the Diversity hub to find out what other firms are doing to improve diversity and inclusion. The Diversity hub is sponsored by Gowling WLG (UK) LLP.