Law firms diversity is somewhat diverse

By Dr David Cowan

22 January 2019 at 11:50 BST

Pinsent Masons named the most inclusive employer in UK survey, while Linklaters report suggests little change.


LGBT equality charity Stonewall has placed Pinsent Masons at apex of Top 100 Employers list in the UK for 2019. Meanwhile Linklaters published a less encouraging UK Diversity Pay Report for 2018, outlining the firm’s statutory gender pay reporting figures, partner data and, for the first time, ethnicity pay gap figures.

‘Shining example’

Pinsent Masons were placed second last year and was the first in the legal sector to engage with Stonewall and feature in the charity's annual review when it launched in 2008. The firm has been commended for its range of inclusive policies and practices for lesbian, gay and bi staff, including the introduction of specific trans-inclusive employee training to create a welcoming environment for trans colleagues, clients and visitors. Richard Foley, senior partner at Pinsent Masons, said ‘this is a very special achievement for us. It isn’t about reaching the top spot; it’s about what the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index stands for and what everyone engaged in it is working so hard to accomplish.’ He added, ‘we have a responsibility to champion change in the wider community.’ Darren Towers, Stonewall’s Executive Director, said ‘our number one employer of 2019, Pinsent Masons is leading the way championing lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality in the workplace. They know that helping staff feel that they can bring their full selves to work doesn’t just make a huge difference to individual team members – it makes real business sense too. They are a shining example for others to follow on how to ensure all staff feel empowered and supported.’

Fair pay

The Linklaters report on its gender and ethnicity pay gap data reveals a black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) pay gap for the first time and updated gender pay gap figures. The latter shows little change since last year’s first report. When equity partners are counted, the mean pay gap is 61.1%, slightly up from the 60.3% the firm reported last year. Excluding partners, the pay gap is 20.8%, a slight improvement on last year’s figure of 23.2%. White workers, including equity partners, are paid 30.3% more than BAME employees. Excluding equity partners, the mean pay gap is 8.6%. The section of the workforce paid the most, the top quartile, is 84% white. However, this data is broadly mirrored across all pay quartiles and in the overall BAME population of the firm (21%). A Linklaters spokesperson said. ‘we are committed to providing fair and competitive rewards to all our people. We are confident that we pay our people fairly for equivalent roles, regardless of their gender or ethnic diversity.’ Linklaters is only the second major UK law firm to publish its ethnicity pay gap figures; Allen & Overy being the first.


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