SRA publishes first ethnicity pay gap report

SRA publishes first ethnicity pay gap report

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has for the first time published its ethnicity pay gap and is encouraging others in the legal sector to do the same.

The ethnicity pay gap shows the difference between the mean or median hourly pay received by White staff and staff from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic background.

Around nine out of ten SRA staff disclosed their ethnicity, with 66% of the workforce White and 26% from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

The 2021 report shows that the mean pay gap is 21.5%, and the median pay gap – which is the difference between the midpoint in the ranges – is 15%. The gap is driven by a higher proportion of White staff in more senior positions (88% of the upper pay quartile).

Paul Philip, SRA Chief Executive, said:

“We have chosen to publish our ethnicity pay gap data for the first time this year. Although we don’t have to do this, we think it is the right thing to do. Some law firms are already publishing this data and we would strongly encourage others to follow suit.

Our data shows that we have a long way to go. Although we have good ethnic diversity in our workforce, we don’t when it comes to diversity in senior positions. That isn’t acceptable. We need to make sure we are recruiting and promoting talent from all backgrounds. We are committed to improving this and will be working hard to do all we can to address this problem.”

In the coming months, the SRA will develop an action plan and will start a programme of work to better understand the reasons behind the low representation of staff from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic background in senior positions, and what new measures it can take to address the problem. This will include learning from best practice, working with leaders and experts in this area to identify how to successfully increase diversity in senior teams.

Unlike gender pay where organisations with more than 250 employees must publish their data, there is no obligation to publish ethnicity pay gap data.

The SRA has published its gender pay gap information as part of the Law Society Group. Last year, the SRA was established as a separate entity within the Law Society Group and from 2022 will publish separate gender pay gap information. It plans to publish its 2022 gender pay gap alongside its next ethnicity pay gap report in the autumn.

Jamie Lennox