Pay gap for male and female lawyers to close by 2021

12 August, 2015

According to a survey carried out by Laurence Simons – the legal and compliance recruitment firm – average pay packages for female lawyers in the UK are rising, though men still receive bonuses that are 66 per cent higher than their female counterparts.

However, despite receiving higher bonuses, men actually saw their total salary packages fall by two per cent last year, to an average of £157,000.

The data in the Laurence Simons Salary Survey 2014/15 was formed from the responses of more than 2,500 lawyers. At the current rate of increases, Laurence Simons predicts that women will eventually achieve pay parity with men by 2021.

In 2014/15, however, the basic salary for female lawyers was £96,400, while it was £118,600 for men. Furthermore, while 75 per cent of men received bonuses, only 58 per cent of women enjoyed the same benefit.

Chris Cayley, EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Asia) Managing Director at Laurence Simons, said: “Earning equality between the genders in junior legal positions is widely accepted, with firms across the board having set rates for trainees and newly-qualified associates.

“However, it is no secret that pay further up the ladder has been subject to a significant gender imbalance over the years, and the news that this is closing is only to be welcomed.

“Obviously we still have a long way to go and as arguably the leading jurisdiction for legal services in the world we should be leading not only on the quality of law we practice, our transactions, and advice, but also on how we reward the exceptional legal talent we have in the UK.

“We are now operating in a fiercely competitive global legal market and we need to keep working on eliminating the pay gap or risk losing talented people.”

Figures from the survey have been supported by a separate study of 6,000 lawyers published in The Lawyer, which found that the gender pay gap was still prevalent in the profession. It stated that the difference between average salaries was £24,000 in favour of men, which differs only slightly to the gap highlighted by Laurence Simons.

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