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Allen & Overy gender pay gap employer statement

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As a global law firm, A&O is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive culture that values and respects the contributions and perspectives of all our people, regardless of their gender, background, identity, or circumstances. 

We’re striving to attract talented, diverse people, and create an environment where our colleagues not only feel that they belong – they feel they can thrive.  Simply understanding the benefits of diversity is not enough to make a difference; in the real world, we need to act in a deliberate way to ensure that we create an inclusive working environment where everyone can contribute and progress.

We’re committed to supporting a culture that drives Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. 

In accordance with that commitment, this statement has been prepared following Allen & Overy Australia’s submission to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s Gender Pay Gap Report covering the 2022-23 period. The gender pay gap is a proxy for measuring and tracking gender equality across a nation, industry or within an organisation. Closing the gender pay gap is important for Australia’s economic future and reflects our aspiration to be an equal and fair society for all. 

While we were pleased to see that Allen & Overy Australia has a significantly lower gender pay gap than the industry average, we still have room for improvement in some areas of gender equality and pay and are dedicated to driving further change.

It is important to note that the gender pay gap is the difference in average earnings between women and men in the workforce. It is not synonymous with the related concept of equal pay, which is centred on women and men being paid the same for the same, or comparable, work.

How our culture and principles guide our gender equality strategy

Improving diversity at senior levels is fundamentally a long-term process of business change, centred in our culture. We have to work hard to define what we want our culture to be – to be explicit about our commitment to our colleagues and what we ask for in return. Our people promise ‘Belong. Excel’ is a commitment to work continuously on our culture so that we are a workplace where everyone feels comfortable and confident, and where different ideas, experiences and backgrounds are respected and valued. We know that’s what enables people to do their best work and gives colleagues confidence they can build a sustainable career path here.

Summary of A&O’s key results in WGEA’s February 2024 report

  • In alignment with WGEA’s requirements, we selected a single day in the reporting period from 1 April to 31 March to provide a ‘snapshot’ of data for analysis in the report. A&O’s snapshot date was 30 June 2022 for the 2022-2023 reporting period.
  • A&O's results from participating in the WGEA Reporting Industry Benchmark Report show that the organisation has a significantly lower gender pay gap (GPG) than the industry average, but still has room for improvement in some areas of gender equality and pay.
  • The following table showcases A&O’s gender pay gap compared to the Industry Comparison Group:
   Your organisation Industry Comparison 
 Median total remuneration   7.9%  26.9%
 Median base salary  2.4%  26.2%
  • All of our key management personnel are female compared to the industry average of 43% which reflects our investment and promotion of senior women into management roles. 
  • In the context of Allen & Overy’s governance, the firm’s ‘governing body’ is its global board.  A&O’s board is 33% women and 67% men, which is just slightly behind the industry average of 37% women and 63% men in the industry. 
  • A&O's parental leave policy also offers more generous and equitable benefits than the industry average, with 26 weeks of paid parental leave for both primary and secondary carers compared to the industry average of 16.3 weeks of paid parental leave. A&O also offer paid superannuation during periods of parental leave, whereas only 85% of the industry comparison group offers this.

Drivers of A&O’s gender pay gap

  • Our median base salary is close to zero gender pay gap at 2.4%.  Total remuneration is higher at 7.9% which includes bonuses, which are performance driven, and calculated on an actual basis, including pro-rated amounts. We are pleased with our proximity to zero gender pay gap. 
  • The gender composition of A&O presents a higher proportion of women than men across all three categories by manager/non-manager roles compared to the industry average.  This suggests that A&O has made successful attempts in attracting, retaining, and promoting female talent in its industry which can enhance our diversity and inclusion efforts and increase competitive advantage amongst clients and future talent.
  • We have good representation of women in senior roles across the Australian offices, reflecting A&O’s focus on developing and retaining female talent. It is providing a key platform for our women to be seen as role models for the firm and the industry.
  • We have industry-leading parental leave policies and good uptake of those policies. The report shows that A&O offers paid parental leave, superannuation payments and a higher number of weeks than the industry comparison group. We value and support our employees who take parental leave regardless of gender, and we recognise the benefits of retaining and engaging talent. However, the report does not provide information on the uptake of parental leave by gender, which can also affect the gender pay gap. Currently more women than men take parental leave or take longer periods of (sometimes unpaid) leave. This can impact women’s career progression, earning potential and superannuation accumulation. Therefore, it is important to encourage and enable more men to take parental leave, and to ensure that employees who return from leave have access to flexible work arrangements, career development and equal pay.

Action plan supporting A&O’s gender equality strategy

  • Encouraging flexible and agile working arrangements, career coaching, mentoring, and networking opportunities for our people, especially those with caring responsibilities or personal circumstances that affect their availability or mobility.
  • Enhancing our parental leave policies and benefits and promoting a culture of shared care and responsibility among our people and their families, through our A&O Family programme, which provides practical and emotional support, resources, and events for parents and carers.  We are focused on ensuring various networks in our organisation are supported, for example our Women’s Network and Allies to Women network. We have increased our focus on highlighting the importance of male allies.
  • Developing and delivering a comprehensive suite of learning and development programmes and tools to raise awareness, challenge stereotypes, and foster inclusive behaviours and practices among our people and leaders, such as our A&O Unconscious Bias training. 
  • Engaging and collaborating with our clients and other external partners to promote gender equality and diversity in the legal profession and beyond, through initiatives such as our Australian Women’s Network, our Males Allies Network and our A&O Pro Bono and Community Investment programme, which supports various organisations and causes that advance women's rights and empowerment.
  • Continue to review and enhance our systems and processes in place to help identify and nurture talent. Our ‘Making your Mark’ career program aimed at mid-level lawyers has as a women-only component to that training as a part of our strategic priorities to ensure women have the same opportunities as our men to progress. Similarly, Female Senior Associates can attend ‘Stepping Forward’ and we have a dedicated emerging leader series designed to support identified talent progress into leadership roles.
  • Strengthen the gender diversity and inclusion culture and leadership in the organisation, by ensuring the governing body and senior managers are accountable and role models for gender equality. Provide regular and transparent reporting on gender pay gap and diversity data and outcomes to the governing body, managers, and employees. Recognise and reward good practices and address any barriers or biases that may hinder gender equality.
  • Review and improve our practices around recruitment, promotion, performance, retention, career development, and pay setting to reduce and minimise the GPG. We will also set clear and measurable targets and strategies to improve the gender balance in the workforce, particularly in the under-represented roles and levels. We have made progress in this area by ensuring diversity, equity and inclusion is discussed during the onboarding process with all employees, and dedicated sessions on this topic are presented to our incoming summer clerks and graduate employees. The A&O strategy is shared and available to all employees.  We have appointed DE&I Champion partners for Australia, and for the APAC region, who are responsible for driving initiatives at a local and regional level.