• April 20, 2024
 White, heterosexual staff still come out on top when it comes pay gap in the UK Legal Sector, findings show

White, heterosexual staff still come out on top when it comes pay gap in the UK Legal Sector, findings show

The Law Society of England and Wales has published its pay gap report for 2023 and has shown median pay gaps in favour of white and male staff within the sector.

The Law society, in a bid to ‘provide greater transparency’, has published disability, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation /identity and trans identity pay gap figures today. CEO Ian Jeffrey said that closing pay gaps to zero does not ‘always equate to a diverse workplace’ and the data is designed to ‘further unpack what is causing pay gaps and realise broader equality and inclusion.

Data from the 2021 Law Society report revealed that the gender pay gap stood at 11.3%, which is 3.3% higher than today’s figures.

Law Society chief executive officer Jeffery said:

“In line with our Diversity and Inclusion Framework, our  2022-2023 activity focused on establishing our purpose, engaging with key stakeholders and gathering data.

“Reducing pay gaps is a priority for the Law Society and we are committed to achieving this by focussing on actions that are likely to have the biggest impact.

“We have introduced a range of measures over the past two years, including anonymised recruitment, flexible working policy and mandatory inclusive recruitment training.

“These are likely to have a positive impact on pay gaps, but will unlikely impact pay gap data collected in April 2023.

“Reducing our pay gaps to zero does not automatically equate to an equitable, diverse, and inclusive environment in which everyone can thrive. Our actions are designed to further unpack what is causing our pay gaps and realise our broader equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) vision.”

There is still a pay gap between Black, Asian and other ethnic minority groups in the UK Legal Sector

When it comes to gender, females are still pulling the short straw when it comes to wages, but within law the gap between men and women is almost half the national median average. 

Findings show that the 2023 median pay gap between male and female staff was 8.0% in favour of male staff, but remains lower than the national gap in other sectors 14.3%.

80.7% of male staff and 78.9% of female staff received a bonus last year.

Strides have been made in the pay gap between those with a disability and those who are non-disabled. Last year, disabled people saw the pay gap close within the law sector by 8.5%.

In 2023 median disability pay gap was -12.0% in favour of disabled staff.

More than 85% of both disabled and non-disabled staff received a bonus in 2023.

With workers of colour and those in minority ethnic groups, pay still leans in favour of white staff, findings have shown. 

The 2023 median pay gap for 2023 is 11.7% in favour of White staff.

84% of staff received a bonus in 2023, for both White, Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff.

Sexual orientation Identity and trans identity also fall behind with their pay in comparison to ‘cisgender and heterosexual’ staff, but has seen an increase.

The Law Society’s 2023 median pay gap for sexual orientation/identity and trans identity is 7.7%. This represents an increase of 11.2%.

Trans and LGBTQ+ people still earn less than heterosexual and cisgender workers in the UK Legal sector

Close to 84% of both cisgender heterosexual individuals and LGBTQ+ individuals received a bonus in 2023.

The full report from the Law society sets out the organisation’s three-year-plan which will see a ‘greater focus on inclusion and EDI’.

The society said: 

“Innovation flourishes when people are welcomed, encouraged and supported to contribute their unique perspectives, and diversity and inclusivity gives firms and organisations the competitive edge they need to attract and retain the best talent.

This applies to our members and their firms and to us as your professional body.

As part of our 2022-25 corporate strategy, we’ve set out how we will be an employer of choice for people who want to make a difference.

Our members uphold the rule of law and our justice system, both key principles underpinning the values of our society. We know our staff already feel passionately that this work makes a difference and are proud of their role and the part they play.

This is a sound platform to build on and will enable us to enhance member value through organisational efficiencies, growth and developing our people.

Being an employer of choice means working to fully embed EDI in our workplace. Whilst we recognise that we have more to do, we feel we have built a good foundation upon which we can expand our internal EDI work.

We will continue to progress our internal EDI strategy, which examines the actions we can take to realise our broader EDI vision.”

Last year, the SRA encouraged firms to publish their pay gap data.  While publication of the gender pay gap report is a legal requirement for organisations with more than 250 employees, there is no current obligation to publish an ethnicity pay gap data which has prompted the SRA to call on firms to do so voluntarily.

The reports showed that the SRA’s median pay gap between Black, Asian and ethnic minority and White staff reduced from 15% in 2021 to 12.7% in 2022. This is still wider than the ONS UK-wide average of 2.3%. The SRA has also published its dedicated workforce senior ethnicity inclusion action plan, which sets out its targets, steps on career development and recruitment and how it will monitor and assess its progress.

Eve Tawfick, Editor

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