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Women in the legal profession behind on pay, study claims - July-18-12
Source: The Times - Law
The legal profession is facing calls to introduce targets to break the dominance of white, middle-class men.
A report published this week found that, despite a series of initiatives to achieve diversity and equality, little progress has been made.
White men, drawn disproportionately from private schools and/or the Top 20 universities, enjoy the richest pickings and are the most satisfied with their work, it shows. Although women outstrip men lower down the pay scale, the higher up they progress, the more they slip behind in earnings.
The report, published by the InterLaw Diversity Forum, says that the only way to break the present culture is for law firms to introduce targets for recruitment and promotion.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal, QC, the former Attorney-General, writes in a foreword to the report that the legal sector should heed the “alarm bell it is ringing so loudly”.
“A profession stuck culturally in the mid-20th century will not flourish in the middle of the 21st,” she adds.
The survey found that about 7 per cent of women in the profession are earning between £100,000 to £200,000, compared with nearly 17 per cent of men. School type has a bearing on later earnings, with non-selective state schools doing best in driving social mobility than state comprehensives or independent schools — and resulting in higher salaries for that group.
Oxbridge graduates also perform significantly better than those from other universities, the survey shows. It cites Law Society research that identifies a “clear bias in the legal profession against graduates of new universities”.
Stephen Ward, Daniel Winterfeldt and Les Moran, the authors, say that targets for recruitment and promotion are the only solution.
“This will present a major cultural challenge in the sector,” they say. “It is evident that change will only be delivered if individuals across the sector are made clearly accountable for its delivery and that requires robust measures that can be used to assess progress.”
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