PracticeAccounting FirmsEY, Deloitte lead Big Four in gender pay gap reporting

EY, Deloitte lead Big Four in gender pay gap reporting

EY was the first of the Big Four firms to voluntarily update its pay gap data to incorporate UK partners into its reporting figures

EY has become the first of the Big Four firms to voluntarily update its pay gap data to incorporate UK partners into its reporting figures.

Timing the release ahead of International Women’s Day, the firm said that it encouraged other organisations to “go beyond the current legislation” to promote transparency and parity in the accountancy and business industries.

Deloitte was the second firm to release additional detail yesterday, publishing its equity partner gender earnings gap, and total gender earnings gap, which includes salary and bonuses of employees in addition to total earnings of equity partners.

EY reported a mean gender pay gap, including partner pay, of 38.1%, and a median pay gap of 19.5%. For UK partners, the mean gender pay gap stood at 14.6% and median at 10%.

In comparison, Deloitte’s mean gender pay gap, including partner earnings, was 43.2% with its median pay gap at 15.2%. The mean gender pay gap for equity partners was 13.8%.

Both EY and Deloitte published pay gap data last year in line with new government guidelines. While the Deloitte figures included salaried partners, it did not include equity partners. EY’s gender pay gap in 2017 stood at 19.7% and 14.8% for mean and median respectively, while Deloitte’s mean pay gap was 18.2%.

PwC and KPMG also published their gender pay gap data last year. KPMG reported a 22.1% median gap and a mean 22.3% gap, while PwC published a mean pay gap of 13.7%.

Improving diversity

EY’s chairman Steve Varley said that publishing the partner data was “another step forward to drive even greater transparency and to help focus minds on improving diversity within the profession”.

He added: “The pay gap legislation is more than a compliance issue for us as a firm. It will help us continue to understand what more we have to do, to create a better gender and ethnic balance at our most senior levels.”

Varley said that EY had invested in over 20 initiatives in the past five years that aim to improve the representation of women and ethnic minorities at the firm, particularly as the pay gap figures demonstrate the number of men holding senior positions.

He said: “To drive bold change we need bold actions. We recognise that much more needs to be done if we are to improve on these numbers. Publishing our ethnicity and partner pay gap figures go beyond UK legislation as set down by the government. I hope that these actions will prompt others to analyse their own pay data more deeply and, crucially, to act on it.

“We will also be sharing our methodology with government and making it freely available to other organisations, as there isn’t currently an agreed methodology for how owners of businesses should report their data.”

Commitment to transparency

Deloitte UK’s senior partner and chief executive David Sproul said that the firm was “firmly committed to transparency and achieving consistency in gender pay reporting standards”.

Sproul said: “This is why we have listened to the calls for firms such as ours to do more in how we report gender pay data. Our role in society means we have a responsibility to lead on critical issues such as inclusion and diversity. Going forward, we commit not only to publishing the data required by the gender pay legislation, but also to publishing our gender earnings gap on an annual basis.”

He added: “Transparency in reporting standards, while making for uncomfortable reading, is a critical step in helping companies measure their progress and determine what actions need to be taken to address the underlying causes. We are committed to leading on this issue. And, through a combination of programmes to encourage change and the actions to embed it, I believe we can make meaningful progress in eliminating our gender pay gap.”

Deloitte’s managing partner for talent at Deloitte UK Emma Codd said that the pay gap data was a “stark reminder” that there are not enough women in senior roles and that the issue was “not about unequal pay but the shape of our firm”.

The firm has introduced a number of initiatives to promote an inclusive culture and develop women for senior roles. This has included a return to work internship programme, sponsorship programmes for women in senior manager and director roles, and increasing the number of women hired at the student and experienced level.

Setting targets

Deloitte has targeted of proportion of 25% female partners by 2020, a figure which increased from 12% in 2012 to 19% in 2017. The firm remains “committed” to meeting the target, said Codd.

EY set targets in 2013 to ensure 30% female representation and 10% black and minority ethnic (BME) representation in its new partner intake, which is measured on a three-year rolling basis. In 2017, the firm had achieved 28% women and 11% BME representation.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, Accountancy Age is launching its inaugural Women in Finance ranking, spotlighting influential women across the government, finance and accountancy sectors who are leaders, trailblazers and transforming their respective industries.

The final ranking will be influenced by your votes, so cast your vote now for the women who you believe should place in the final ranking.

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