‘It’s about doing the right thing’ – Clifford Chance goes extra mile to reveal stark 66% gender pay gap

‘It’s about doing the right thing’ – Clifford Chance goes extra mile to reveal stark 66% gender pay gap

In an attempt to kick-start a more transparent reporting process, Clifford Chance (CC) has opted to include the total earnings of its London partnership in its gender pay gap figures, revealing a 66% disparity.

The Magic Circle firm argues that while the likes of Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) and Pinsent Masons have included partners in their overall pay gap, their decisions to break partner earnings down by salary and bonus means the overall picture is obscured. For the avoidance of doubt, CC has asserted its figures would be lower than both NRF and Pinsents if it reported them in the same way.

CC has instead decided to include the total earnings, including any bonuses or profit share entitlements, of its London partnership. As a result, the firm’s overall pay gap stands at 66% on a mean basis and 44% on a median basis.

The gap in pay between partners is 27% on a mean basis and 46% on a median basis. The firm’s statutory report, which does not include the London partnership, indicates a mean 20% hourly pay gap, while the gap is 37% on a median basis. The firm’s statutory bonus gap is 53% on a mean basis and 50% on a median basis.

Michael Bates, CC’s UK managing partner, commented: ‘For us, it’s about doing the right thing. While including our partnership in adjusted results shows a larger gender pay gap than the data from the statutory reporting requirements, our decision to publish these figures demonstrates our commitment to closing the gap and accelerating the pace of change of our gender demographic at every level.

‘We hope the government will provide greater clarity going forward on the inclusion of partner data, and that other professional services firms will demonstrate their commitment to addressing gender issues by adopting an equally transparent approach.’

Yesterday (26 March), Pinsents disclosed that its male partners are paid over a fifth more on average and 38% more on a median basis. Its bonus pay gap, however, sees female partners receive 11% more on average while the bonus pay gap is 0% on a median basis.

CC was the last Magic Circle firm to reveal its gender pay stats. Last week, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer posted comparatively impressive figures to its peers, with male staff earning on average 14% more than female fee earners, a gap which closes to 13.3% when the median figure is taken into account.

Linklaters did not fare so well, revealing it paid male staff members nearly 60% more in bonuses than women.

Firms have until 4 April to disclose their figures.