Challenges

Crunching the numbers on gender pay reporting

Further analysis on gender pay reporting by major UK law firms

As you probably know, I love data, so I was quite excited to see that The Lawyer had generously published a story this week on gender pay on all 109 UK firms that had to submit gender pay figures (i.e. those that have over 250 employees). The Guardian also did so publishing data on all major employers, but I have focused on the law as that’s the sector I work in.

Years ago, I ran the partners survey and the associates survey for Legal Business, so the statto in me wanted to have a go at crunching the numbers.

I have loaded them into a spreadsheet here and assumed that they are correct as they appear on The Lawyer and other websites.

What I’ve then done is give each firm a ranking for how it ranks for four different criteria versus competitors. For simplicity, I have given equal ratings to appearing near the top of four fields:

  • Mean pay (vs male pay)
  • Median pay (vs male pay)
  • Percentage of women who got a bonus
  • And percentage of women in the upper quartile

The long and short of it is:

  • The best overall firm is Freeths – which ranks best across all four categories.
  • If you’d like to earn more on average than your male counterparts, the only major law firm in the UK that pays women more than men on average (mean and median) is Winckworth Sherwood.
  • If you’d like to get a bonus, try Shakespeare Martineau or Michelmores where 95% of women got a bonus
  • If you’d like to make it to the top, try Birchall Blackburn where 74.2% of the top quartile are women
  • Irwin Mitchell, CMS and Fieldfisher all appear just outside the top ten, which, considering their sizes, is a significant result.

Congratulations to those who ranked well. Now, what’s next?

Well, the picture can be improved dramatically for a lot of firms, and, as you’ll have no doubt read elsewhere, there’s a lot of devil in the detail. For example, the vast majority of women getting bonuses is great but not at the price of mean pay being lower nor if those bonuses aren’t significant and meaningful. A question or two for next year, perhaps?

Likewise, some firms that promote women into their upper echelons don’t then pay them bonuses.

Anyway, here’s the full data set along with the ranking of rankings.

  • Sheet 1 is an A to Z
  • Sheet 2 is ranked by that overall ranking.

Let us know your thoughts and comments.

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