Trio of accounting giants publish partner pay gap data

Three of the Big Four firms, Deloitte, EY and KPMG have published details of their partner pay gap for the first time, as part of moves to offer increased transparency by going beyond the requirements of new legislation on gender pay reporting

Deloitte’s original analysis published last year, using the government’s methodology for pay reporting, showed Deloitte had a mean gender pay gap of 18.2% and a mean bonus gap of 50.9%.  While this analysis included Deloitte’s salaried partners, around a third of all partners at the firm, it did not include the firm’s equity partners. 

Partner pay is specifically excluded from an organisation’s pay gap calculation because the UK pay gap legislation requires that partners are classed as owners of a business rather than employees.

Deloitte has now calculated its mean equity partner gender pay gap stands 13.8%, which the firm said arises as it still has fewer women in senior equity partner positions. The previously published mean salary pay gap for employees (excluding equity partners) is 18.2%.

However, Deloitte’s mean gender pay for the whole firm including equity partners is 43.2%, while the median is 15.2%.

David Sproul, senior partner and chief executive of Deloitte UK, said: ‘We are firmly committed to transparency and achieving consistency in gender pay reporting standards. This is why we have listened to the calls for firms such as ours to do more in how we report gender pay data.

‘Going forward, we commit not only to publishing the data required by the gender pay legislation, but also to publishing our gender earnings gap on an annual basis.’

Emma Codd, managing partner for talent at Deloitte UK, said: ‘As with our formal gender pay and bonus gap reports, these calculations again serve as a stark reminder that we don’t have enough women in senior roles – this is not about unequal pay but the shape of our firm.’

Codd said the firm had focused on actions relating to ‘pain points’ in the career lifecycle, and reported ‘a significant increase’ in the number of women choosing to stay with Deloitte at the points where previously the firm saw increased attrition

EY also first reported its median (14.8%) and mean (19.7%) gender pay gap figures for employees in the UK last year.

The firm now says that, based on regular earnings, when partner pay is included, EY’s gender pay gap figures are a median of 19.5% and mean of 38.1%. The gender pay gap among the UK partnership is 10% on a median basis and 14.6% on a mean basis, which EY said was a reflection of the larger number of men at senior levels of the firm.

Steve Varley, EY UK chairman, said: ‘Publishing our partner pay gap figures is another step forward to drive even greater transparency and to help focus minds on improving diversity within the profession.

‘The pay gap legislation is more than a compliance issue for us as a firm. It will help us continue to understand what more we have to do, to create a better gender and ethnic balance at our most senior levels.’

EY is also encouraging the government to clarify several areas of ambiguity in the legislation in order to provide the public with greater transparency and to support peer to peer comparisons, which it says will be particularly important if other partnership organisations choose to publish partner pay gap figures.

KPMG UK has also published an updated analysis of the firm’s gender pay gap data, which includes partner pay.

The figures show a 27% median and 42% mean pay gap between KPMG’s male and female employees and partners in the UK and 11% median and 12% mean pay gap at partner level. The firm published its gender pay gap for the third year in a row in December 2017, which showed a gap of 22.1% (median) and 22.3% (mean).

Bill Michael, chairman of KPMG in the UK, said: ‘Like many businesses our gender pay gap is driven by having fewer women in senior roles and it will persist until we reach gender parity across all levels of our firm.

‘This is a critical issue for us. Having a diverse mix of talented people to advise our clients is fundamental to our commercial success and we’re looking at every stage of our recruitment and talent management process to help us do that.

‘To tackle this our leadership has committed substantial resources to better understand the diversity of our business and identify the barriers preventing talented people joining and progressing through our firm.’

The deadline for the first reporting of gender pay gap data by organisations with more than 250 employees is 4 April 2018 (or 30 March 2018 for public sector employers).

Around 1,500 companies have filed figures so far, but the legislation is expected to affect around 9,000 businesses.

Report by Pat Sweet

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