8 City firms make workplace gender equality employer power list

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By Thomas Connelly on

Top outfits recognised for creating workplaces and cultures that are inclusive of women — but what are their partner diversity stats like?


The 2016 ‘Top 50 Employers for Women list’ has been unveiled with eight City law firms making this year’s cut.

In recognition of organisations that strive to create workplace gender equality, the list features corporate players from finance, banking, retail and — most importantly — law.

Compiled in partnership with The Times newspaper and the charity Business in the Community, this year’s list features a host of City outfits which have “demonstrated that gender equality is a key part of their business strategy” across all levels of the organisation.

Linklaters, Addleshaw Goddard, CMS, Eversheds, Hogan Lovells, Herbert Smith Freehills, Pinsent Masons and Simmons & Simmons have all made the 2016 list, proving their “commitment to creating workplaces and cultures that are inclusive of women”. As the Legal Cheek Firms Most List shows, all have partnerships made up of over 20% women, except Simmons & Simmons, which has just 14% female partners.

This is the second year running that eight law firms have featured in the top 50. Olswang, Norton Rose Fulbright and magic circle outfit Freshfieldswhich all featured last year — failed to make the 2016 list. All of these firms have a significantly higher proportion of women partners than Simmons & Simmons.

Kathryn Nawrockyi, gender equality director at Business in the Community, said:

Huge congratulations to all 50 employers on being named in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2016. The process was highly competitive so they should all be extremely proud of their success. Each company has demonstrated a commitment to fundamentally changing workplace processes and cultures to make them inclusive to all, benefitting women and men at every level in their organisation. I hope they inspire other employers to do the same.

Despite the commitment to gender diversity, women continue to struggle to make partner at the same rate as men. Earlier this week magic circle firm Linklaters — that feature on this list for the third year running — revealed that from a 10-strong round of UK partner promotions, two were women. Over all Linklaters has 24% women partners — the highest figure in the magic circle alongside Slaughter and May.

This followed the news that silver circle outfit Macfarlanes — which late last week proudly trumpeted six partner promotions — had singularly failed to elevate any women thereby missing an opportunity to improve its lagging gender diversity stats.

One alternative model law firm, Obelisk Support, also made it to the top 50. The firm is behind the First 100 Years project which celebrates women in the law.