In line with the Gender Pay Regulations, Birketts LLP, along with all other organisations with 250 or more employees are now obliged to analyse and report on our Gender Pay Gap on an annual basis.
A commitment to diversity and inclusion is absolutely paramount to us here at Birketts LLP. We invest significant effort and resources in attracting and retaining the best talent and we are acutely aware of the benefits of a diverse workforce.
Before the introduction of the regulations, we had already made a commitment to address any gender diversity issues and had launched a firm-wide programme aligned to this. We therefore welcome the new regulations as an additional tool to enable us to monitor our progress in this respect.
Notwithstanding the above, our figures don’t tell the whole story and out of context, may be misleading.
What should be clarified is that the pay gap measures the difference between average hourly earnings for men and women. It is not a comparison of pay rates for men and women in the same role. We are confident that men and women are paid equally for equal work here at Birketts and to demonstrate that this is the case we will carry out an audit later in the year.
Secondly, we have a large secretarial community who account for over a fifth of employees and are made up almost entirely of women. When we exclude these individuals from the figures, our median pay gap drops significantly to 9.7%.
In terms of the bonus figures, we are committed to and proud of the firm’s staff profit share scheme which enables all eligible employees involved in the business to participate in its overall success. The scheme is open to all employees and is paid as a percentage of basic salary. The link to basic pay has significantly impacted the bonus figures, as will the fact that the bonus is pro-rated for part time workers. 96% of our part time workers at the time of the snapshot date were female.
As a firm, we are already making important strides in our commitment to gender diversity. As of the snapshot date, 21% of our Partners were female. At the same point five years prior, this figure was only 15.5%. In terms of promotions, 58% of promotions across the Firm in the 12 months leading up to the snapshot date were achieved by women and 75% of our Senior Associate population is made up of women.
An agile working policy was launched in the latter half of 2017 and we are seeing an increasing number of employees taking advantage of more flexible working practices. We thoroughly expect, and hope, that this will continue.
Nonetheless, the figures clearly show that we still have work to do. As part of the diversity programme, we are soon to launch a number of initiatives, including benchmarking our family friendly policies, reviewing our promotion process and criteria to ensure there is no unconscious gender bias and further assessing our diversity training needs. A particular challenge for the legal sector is what is commonly referred to as the ‘motherhood penalty’ or the extent to which working parents have the same opportunities for promotion and progression after starting a family. This is where we intend to focus our efforts as we believe it is an area within our control that can potentially have the most impact.
I am confident that these measures along with the continued commitment from leaders at all levels will allow us to tackle this issue and ensure that all employees at Birketts feel able to flourish and reach their very full potential.