Female staff at DWF received 26.5 per cent less in median hourly pay than their male counterparts for the 2016/17 financial year, the firm’s gender pay gap data has revealed.

When taken on an average basis, the firm posted a gap of 23.7 per cent. Of that figure, 21.6 per cent was the result of there being more men in senior roles than women, attributing the remaining 2.1 per cent to men and women at an equal level being paid differently.

The gap in bonus pay was slightly smaller with women being paid 15.1 per cent and 23.6 per cent on median and mean bases, respectively.

The percentage of men and women at the firm receiving bonuses was roughly the same. There was a 0.2 per cent difference between the 24.2 per cent of men and 24 per cent of women who were paid a bonus last year.

Speaking to The Lawyer, DWF CEO and managing partner Andrew Leaitherland highlighted the firm’s rapid expansion since 2015 as contributing to this figure. The firm has announced expansion in both Istanbul and Qatar this year alone, adding a further six throughout 2017.

Leaitherland told The Lawyer: “We’ve done 17 mergers and acquisitions in my time as managing partner. You aren’t always going to take on another firm or business with the same commitment to diversity and inclusion as yourselves.”

Similarly to many of the firms who have reported their gender pay gap data, women outnumber men in every quartile of the firm’s payroll. Only in the highest-paid level of DWF’s staff are there more men than women. Male staff represented 52 per cent of this quartile.

DWF launched a firmwide global diversity and inclusion strategy in October 2017 led by London-based casualty partner Seema Bains and supported by director of corporate social responsibility and engagement Tyrone Jones. The pair will continue to monitor diversity and inclusion at the firm, though no formal targets have currently been set.

To progress this, the firm has invested in an applicant tracking system for anyone wishing to join the firm. This will track levels of levels of diversity, equal pay and gender pay from applicants and around the firm more broadly.

Female representation on the firm’s 10-strong strategic board has risen from 10 to 30 per cent with head of international claims Claire Bowler, HR director Helen Hill and head of food, retail and hospitality Hilary Ross all sitting on the board. Ross and Bowler are both equity partners at the firm.

Legislation passed last year means all firms must report their gender pay gap data to the Government Equalities Office by 30 March for public sector organisations and 4 April for business and charities.