4 April 2019

Gender Pay Gap – Forsters continues to report outstanding results

Forsters has today published its gender pay gap report in accordance with the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017. The report shows a mean pay gap of 6.82%, which is better than the comparable figure reported by almost all similar London firms. To further supplement our report we have included partner gender pay gap data and we can report an all inclusive mean pay gap of 8.6%, clearly setting us apart from other firms.

This year, our managing partner Paul Roberts and senior partner Smita Edwards jointly share their thoughts on this vital issue:

“For the second year running we are pleased to report Forsters’ mean pay figures, once again showing a small gap between the average pay for female and male staff at 6.82%. The full report can be read here. The real question for us as a modern law firm, is what does this data mean to us?

Having recently celebrated International Women’s Day, we have been reflecting on our working environment where over 44% of our partners and 63% of our associates are women, we have ten female partners in leadership positions and women head four of our seven business service groups. It strikes us that law firms need to be held accountable for what they plan to do to address the gender pay gap, regardless of how small it might be, and how they will take their plan forward.

Last year, as part of our data analysis, our Management Group agreed that for Forsters to remain relevant, client-centric and appealing as an employer of choice, a clear strategy would be needed to enhance our strong foundations as a gender inclusive business. To drive forward our vision, the firm has appointed partner Ben Barrison to head up the firms’ Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Further to our firm wide diversity & Inclusion survey he will be working closely with HR and senior figures within the firm to develop innovative programmes to ensure Forsters continues to be at the forefront of diversity of every kind.

We plan to publish our strategy and to benchmark our annual gender pay gap data against it to show how we are progressing to ensure that there is a close to zero pay gap within the next five years. Our principal focus is to recruit and train outstanding lawyers, and to provide an environment in which they can develop their careers regardless of gender, background, ethnicity or beliefs. In addition to providing all of our leaders and managers with unconscious bias training, we have a robust flexible and agile working policy alongside other benefits such as enhanced maternity pay, maternity/paternity coaching, shared parent leave and counselling. To support this, we have this year introduced a career progression programme which includes a new role, of Counsel. Lawyers are provided with holistic training and we continue to receive positive feedback from staff. We have been recognised for our continued commitment to mental wellbeing, as an award winner of the annual MIND survey for three consecutive years.

As with most firms publishing their gender pay gap report we have the policies and training in place that aim to support diversity in the workplace, but what sets us apart and is the key reason for our positive results is: our unique culture. An inclusive and fair workplace culture is something that we have championed from day one, much before reporting requirements made it a necessity. As other firms play catch-up we are committed to leading the way forwards as a positive example in the industry.

As a firm, we are committed to seeing each and every one of our people realise their potential in a diverse and inclusive working environment and we are proud to provide a positive set of data as part of the gender pay gap reporting.”

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