Revealed: gender gap in lawyers’ salaries persists as men pick up bigger pay rises

Despite efforts by the legal profession to focus on diversity, the gender gap in pay remains pronounced with a £24,000 difference in average salaries, The Lawyer research has shown.

Across the private practice respondents to The Lawyer Salary Survey, in partnership with Kinsella Legal, the average salary for a man was £87,820, while the average salary for a woman was £63,518. This figure is skewed by the fact that there are more men in senior positions across the legal profession.

At regional firms and the non-London offices of national firms, average pay for female 1-3PQEs was slightly higher than that of their male colleagues: £43,920 compared to £41,641. In the magic circle a lockstep system for associate pay means that the average pay at this level is roughly similar.

However across all private practice respondents the average pay was higher for men at all levels of qualification. Among 4-6PQEs, the average salary for men as of 2014/15 is £84,843, compared to £70,746 for women. At 7+PQE, it is £91,043 for men and £76,949 for women. At salaried partner level, the average pay for a man is £127,122, while for a woman it is £106,584.

Men were only slightly more likely to get a pay rise than women: 25.2 per cent of men got no salary boost in 2014-15, compared with 26.8 per cent of women. 

But the gender gap still persists in pay rises. Some 47.1 per cent of females got a small pay rise of between zero and 5 per cent, compared with 38.5 per cent of males. However, 16.6 per cent of males received a six to 10 per cent salary bump, compared with only 13.3 per cent of females.

Meanwhile, 18.1 per cent of males got a pay increase of more than 10 per cent. The same was true of just 11.2 per cent of females. These overall figures, however, may be influenced by the fact that there are more men than women in high-level positions, where salary rises are likely to be greater.

salary survey rise

For more on the gender gap in lawyers’ pay, click here. The full results of the salary survey are available here.