Blended outcomes for A&O on the gender pay hole, however incapacity disclosure reveals the appropriate angle

Allen & Overy is the first in its peer group to publish its wage gap statistics. While the gender gap persists, the company has made a positive letter of intent by disclosing its disability pay gap for the first time.

When it comes to the gender pay gap, A&O numbers are inconsistent as the company is moving in the wrong direction when it comes to partner salaries. Women – who make up only 20% of the partnership – are paid on average 18% less than their male counterparts, compared with a difference of 16% last year.

It is worth remembering, however, that the data will collect partner numbers until April 5, 2020 before the May promotion round started. Women currently make up 22% of the partnership. The median gap has also increased to 26% after narrowing to 17% in 2019.

The A&O report comes despite government pressure on companies to publish their statistics this year as they grapple with the increasing business challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

Disability data shows that with a response rate of 74% among UK employees, 3% identified a disability, which translates into an average wage disadvantage of 20% or 9% taking the median into account.

The combined employee and partner numbers have improved nominally compared to the previous year. The average gender pay gap closed from 61.5% in 2019 to 60%, although the median rose to 46% from 44% in the previous year.

The ethnic numbers are based on 96% of employees in the UK responding and show that black, Asian or ethnic minority workers are paid 22% less on average, while the median is 41% in favor of ethnic minorities.

The company reported that 74% of employees recorded sexual orientation and 5% identified as LGBT +. On average, those who identify as LGBT + earn 8% more, while the median disadvantages them 10%.

In 2018, A&O redoubled its diversity efforts, including opening a so-called “hub” office in south-west London’s Vauxhall to facilitate remote working. This initiative was later abandoned due to a lack of interest. The senior partner Wim Dejonghe also stipulated that 30% of the partnership candidates should be women from 2021. In this year’s partnership campaigns, 45% of the new partners were women.

The company’s stated goal of having 30% of its board of directors women has now been achieved, while 31% of its executive committee are now women. 50% of the A&O risk committee are female and 42% of the employees and the performance committee are female.

A&O wanted progress to lead to an increase in the overall proportion of female partners and work towards an initial target of 30% globally. Sasha Hardman, Global HR Director of A&O said: ‘During a crisis there is a risk that diversity and inclusion will be less of a priority, but we are determined not to let that happen. We have continued our action in this important area over the past few months during the pandemic and our focus is on continuing to delve into the issues to bring about positive change within the A&O. ‘

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