Freshfields narrows gender pay gap for third year

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By Aishah Hussain on


Ethnicity, disability and LGBTQ+ results also improve

Freshfields‘ overall gender pay gap figures have decreased this year, maintaining the ongoing trend since 2019.

The magic circle firm’s 2021 mean gender pay gap is 52.1%, inclusive of partners, representing a slight decrease on last year’s result of 54.5%. The gap stood at 57.2% in 2019.

Looking at just partners, the gender pay gap decreased from 2.4% in 2020 to -2.6% in 2021. The mean gender pay gap for employees is less than 1%.

Freshfields also reported a drop in its ethnicity pay gap, from 59.5% to 50.5%. The firm said 19% of its UK partners and employees identified as part of a minority ethnic group in 2021.

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Freshfields has published its gender pay gap since 2017, and on a voluntary basis, its ethnicity pay gap since 2018. This year for the second time it has included data on its disability and sexual orientation pay gaps.

Its disability and LGBTQ+ pay gaps came out at 52.5% and 33.4%, respectively, a marked decrease on the firm’s first year results of 65.4% and 49.4%.

Claire Wills, London managing partner, commented: “We are pleased to see continued improvements in reducing pay gaps, yet there is still much progress to be made. We are building a focus on measurable change and our targets include shining a light on leadership and representation at different levels. This will aim to ensure a more balanced representation across seniority levels at the firm, which will in turn have a positive impact on pay gaps.”

Linklaters was the first of the magic circle firms to report its 2021 gender and ethnicity pay gaps back in January, coming out at 61.9% and 36.5%, respectively.

Earlier this month a number of top firms were left red-faced after a Twitter bot targeted them on International Women’s Day with details of their gender pay gap. The account, @PayGapApp, retweeted firms celebrating the global day with an automated response detailing their hourly median pay gap, prompting some outfit’s to delete their original posts.

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