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Gender Pay Report - VWV Law Firm

Gender Pay Report 2018

At VWV we are committed to treating all of our staff equally across all of our locations. This includes opportunities for reward, recognition and support for career progression.

A positive approach to diversity and inclusion is central to our recruitment and employment practices and is also reflected in our core values. We are confident that we have robust policies and procedures in place to achieve equal pay but we have a gender pay gap as we have set out below. Across our whole firm we employ significantly more women than men and our headcount split for the reporting period was 419, 298 women and 121 men. We think our pay gap arises predominantly because a large proportion of those women are employed in legal support roles and those roles are paid less when compared with the majority of our male employees who are in qualified roles in our business which attracts higher pay. As our bonus scheme is based on a percentage of pay, our bonus pay figures in the 2017 reporting round reflected a similar pay gap, the bonus pay gap for this current round (2018), is higher and explained in more detail below.

As this is our second year of reporting, it is useful to reflect on actions taken to date to narrow the gap and to remain fully committed to exploring further ways to narrow the pay gap where possible (which we appreciate takes time). In our report this year we go beyond reporting what is currently required by legislation (employee data about bonuses and pay) and have published our LLP Member pay gap data and our LLP Member and employee pay gap data combined.

SRBH Signature

Simon Heald
Managing Partner


Statutory Information

VWV is required to publish an annual gender pay gap report on its website and to also upload the statistics to the government website. Data has to be gathered on a snapshot date (5 April 2018) and our data statistics are as follows:

  1. Gender Pay Gap for Employees
  2. Pay Quartiles
  3. Bonus Pay Gap for Employees
  4. Gender Pay Gap for LLP Members

Gender Pay Gap for Employees

We are required to publish overall gender pay gap figures calculated using both the mean and the median average hourly pay which has been calculated in accordance with guidance contained within the regulations.

  • The 'mean' is the sum of all of the hourly pay rates divided by the number of males/females, as appropriate.
  • The 'median' is the mid-point when all of the hourly rates are sorted in ascending order.
  Mean   Median
   21%  28%

The position has improved slightly from our 2017 position, where the mean was 21.9% and the median was 32%. This is an ongoing journey for us and there is still more work to be done. During our last pay review, particular attention was paid to gender pay and we are confident that our reviews and processes are fair and as we continue to review salaries over the coming years, gender pay remains a central focus for us, ensuring any historic imbalances are addressed. This year 65% of the firm's promotions were female and we continue to drive career development initiatives, ensuring fairness, transparency and equality which helps reduce the gap over time.

We have rolled out a comprehensive programme of unconscious bias training to all our managers involved in recruitment, promotions, pay reviews and those responsible for conduction performance reviews.

Pay Quartiles

Set out below is the proportion of male and female employees in each of four pay quartiles, based on our overall pay range (not making any distinctions in relation to roles or whether a fee earner or not).

GPGR quartiles 2 2019

A positive shift is reflected in all of our quartiles compared to our position in 2017, in part due to our promotion results this year, which as described above, saw 65% of the firms promotions being female.

Bonus Pay Gap for Employees

Information of our gender bonus gap (ie, the difference between men and women's mean and median bonus pay over a 12 month period) is set out below, together with details of the proportion of male and female employees who received a bonus in the same 12 month period.

GPR bonus pay gap 2019The percentages of bonuses received are extremely low for both male and females for this year in comparison to 2017 as the firm's discretionary bonus scheme was not triggered in the period from May 2017 to April 2018. The small percentages (detailed below), that did receive a bonus were for things completely non-gender related, for example if a member of staff received a staff introduction bonus or a client introduction bonus. The mean bonus gap does however reflect an extremely high percentage due to an isolated inherited bonus scheme, which paid out in 2018 (the scheme no longer exists).

   Mean     Median 
 91.1%  50.0%

Gender Pay Gap for LLP Members

   Mean     Median 
 17.8%  26.6%

As this is our first year of reporting data that includes the figures for LLP Partners it provides us with a useful platform from which to build and improve. 27% of our LLP Member make up is female and we consider this to be a very positive starting position, in this reporting year, there were three LLP Member promotions (one of which was female). Our focus now is on achieving the 30% figure as our next milestone and we must continue to build our talent pipelines with a particular focus on initiatives that ensure any perceived barriers to senior female promotions are removed. With a focus on the continuous review of promotion criteria, mentoring programmes and a positive and supportive approach to flexible working we are confident that we can further reduce the gender pay gap for this group of individuals.

Gender Pay Gap for LLP Members and Employees

   Mean     Median 
 48.0%  39.4%

Again as this is the first year we have reported data across the whole workforce to include LLP Member data, this is very much a starting position for us from which we need to move forward. When you are comparing such a wide variety of individuals, with substantially different levels of responsibility in one statistic it becomes much less meaningful. This result is reflective of the legal sector as a whole and one that will take time and commitment to improve.

Next Steps

  1. We continue to focus on access to the profession through increased use of the Apprenticeship scheme, working closely with local under-privileged schools and raising awareness amongst young pupils. Research suggests that some female students start self- selecting from certain careers as early as seven years of age. We are hosting our first event for female pupils aged 7-8 years in April to provide an insight into a career in a law firm. 
  2. Continuous reviews of the firms promotion criteria to ensure/enhance fairness, consistency, accessibility and transparency. The partner promotion process has been the most recently reviewed.
  3. Introduction of mentoring schemes, to include female mentors to assist junior female lawyers, before, during and on return from maternity leave.
  4. Increase in agile/flexible/part time working, we are extremely flexible in our approach to flexible working, work in this area is essential to the continued reduction in the pay gap.

To identify any barriers to gender equality and inform priorities for action in 2019, VWV will introduce gender monitoring to understand:

  • Proportion of men and women applying for jobs and being recruited.
  • Proportion of men and women applying for and obtaining promotions.
  • Proportion of men and women leaving the firm and their reasons for leaving.
  • The numbers of men and women in each occupational category and average pay.
  • The take up of flexible working arrangements by gender and level within the firm.
  • Proportion of men and women who return to their original job after a period of maternity or other parental leave.
  • Proportion of men and women still in post a year on from a return to work after a period of maternity or other parental leave.