22 June 2018 at 09:54 BST

Allen & Overy under fire over gender pay gap

The chair of a UK parliamentary select committee claims A&O refused to 'come clean' and is 'dragging its feet' on partner gender pay gap data.


Allen & Overy has come under fire from the chair of a parliamentary select committee because the firm apparently refused to hand over its partner gender pay data. The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee had requested partnership data from all five magic circle firms. Linklaters and Clifford Chance had already included the stats in their public pay reports, while Freshfields and Slaughter and May complied when requested by the committee.


The Allen & Overy data had not included partners’ compensation in the calculations for their first report, based on data to 5 April 2017. They are currently working on a gender pay gap report for the year ended 5 April 2018, which the firms says will include the required information on partners, which they had already committed to publishing in September. However, the committee chair Rachel Reeves issued a damning statement accusing Allen & Overy of refusing to 'come clean' and said the firm is 'dragging its feet' over partner pay figures.

Not a pretty picture

Ms Reeves said: 'It will surprise no-one that including partners in reporting reveals a wider gender pay gap. The picture wasn’t a pretty one but the Big Four accountancy firms at least acknowledged the problem by including partner data, a social duty which somehow escaped, with some exceptions, the major law firms. Allen & Overy can’t even come clean on its partner data now. It’s easy to talk the talk on diversity and inclusion but if a business is dragging its feet on providing even basic information about its gender pay gap then it begs the question of how seriously it takes its responsibilities to valuing all its staff and how dedicated it is to committing to promote female associates to partner level.'

Exploiting weaknesses

Ms Reeves also claimed the firm had exploited weaknesses in reporting requirements. She said the committee would be making recommendations to ‘ensure that businesses are taking their responsibilities on fair pay seriously.’ In March, Allen & Overy released a mean hourly pay gap 19.8 per cent, excluding partners. Inclusive of partners, Freshfields reported a mean pay gap of 60.4 percent; Clifford Chance reported 66.3 per cent; Linklaters posted 60.3 per cent; and, Slaughter and May reported 61.8 per cent.


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