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Press release

Grant Thornton UK LLP announces latest gender and ethnicity pay gaps

Grant Thornton UK LLP today reports a mean* gender pay gap of 23% and a median** pay gap of 21% for 2019***.   These figures are 2% and 1% lower than the figures reported by the firm in 2018, representing incremental improvements year on year.  The mean gender pay gap has decreased by 4% since first reported in 2017, suggesting that the firm is on target to meet it’s 2023 target for a mean gender pay gap of 20%.

The mean gender pay gap including both employees and partners is 36% mean (a 4% annual improvement) and 24% median (2% lower than last year).  The mean pay gap for partners is 10% (3% higher than last year) and 7% median (7% lower than last year).

The firm also reports a mean ethnicity pay gap of 10% for employees only (2% higher than last year) and 19% for employees and partners combined (1% higher) than last year.   

In 2019 48% of the firm’s employees and 46% of new starters identified as female.  Females accounted for 17% of the firm’s partner group.  In the same year 17% of the firm’s overall population and 24% of new starters were from a BAME background.  People from a BAME background accounted for 7% of the firm’s partner group. This the first year that the firm has reported this data.

Bonus Pay Gaps

The firm’s 2019 gender bonus pay gap is 53% mean (44% median), down by 3% (8% median) compared with 2018.   98% of female employees in the firm received a bonus in 2019, compared with 57% in 2018.

The increase in the percentage of female employees receiving a bonus in 2019 compared to the previous year is due to the first inclusion of the firm’s shared reward bonus payment in annual calculations.  Paid on a three-year cycle, the shared reward scheme falls under the government’s definition of bonus payments that must be included in pay gap reporting. 

Excluding shared reward, the percentage of female employees in the firm receiving a bonus in 2018/19 was 56%, a 1% decrease from the previous year.  This compares with 63% of male employees who received a bonus (excluding shared reward) in 2018/19, a similar disparity compared with the previous year.

The firm’s 2019 BAME bonus gap including shared reward is 16% mean (40% median).  94% of the firm’s BAME population received a bonus in 2019.  The gap between bonuses for BAME and non-BAME individuals (excluding shared reward) was -10%, compared with 1% in 2018.

Dave Dunckley, CEO at Grant Thornton UK LLP, has put inclusion and diversity issues front and centre since he stepped into the role in 2018.

“Building an inclusive culture, where we value difference and respect our colleagues, is the right thing to do.  It also helps our people to perform at their best.  We want to create a culture where it is ok to ask questions and to understand more about different perspectives.”

“Our vision is to create an inclusive firm where there is no disparity in pay or opportunity regardless of gender or ethnicity.  We know that we have work to do and that progress has so far been slow.  Driving change is a key business objective and is treated as such.  The action we take is informed by analysis of firm data which enables us to create targeted solutions.  We are committed to continually evolving our approach and improving transparency.”  

Dave Dunckley has taken personal responsibility for driving the firm’s gender inclusion strategy. He says:

“We know that we have an equal gender balance up to level 3 (Manager).  From level 4 (Senior Manager) and upwards the percentage of women in senior leadership roles decreases. This has a significant impact on our gender pay gap, our bonus gap and on the gender balance of teams. Our focus is to re-balance those numbers and build a gender-balanced pipeline of talent to lead our firm.

“In the last 18 months we have taken a number of key actions that we believe will help to move us closer to our goal.  These include our public commitment to the Women in Finance charter, the appointment of a partner, Sarah Talbott (Head of Financial Services Key Accounts), as gender lead, with me as a board-level sponsor.  Gender targets have been set and progress is being tracked.  By 2023, we aim to increase the percentage of female and non-binary partners in our firm to 25%; and increase the proportion of female and non-binary directors to 30%.

“A cornerstone of how we want our leaders to experience different perspectives is reverse mentoring, where senior leaders are mentored by junior colleagues to broaden their understanding of the challenges faced.

“Since the end of this reporting period (April 2019) we have taken further action to improve our pipeline including: an internal programme  to support women in progressing from senior manager to director;  a London Business School development programme to boost female directors to partner, and; the firm’s first European female mentoring programme.  

“We have also introduced a returner programme to encourage women back into the workplace and are attracting and recruiting more females and non-binary people into our firm than ever before.  We are firmly focussed on encouraging a gender balanced approach to family life through promotion of flexible working and improvement of family leave policies for our people.  

“We are encouraged to see the incremental improvements in gender pay gap reporting and in female representation at senior levels to date and feel confident we will continue to see positive change reflected going forward.”

Robert Hannah, Partner, Senior Leadership Team at Grant Thornton UK LLP, has taken board level responsibility for driving the firm’s ethnicity strategy alongside Cherryl Cooper, Senior Solicitor and ethnicity lead.  Robert says:

“Grant Thornton is committed to providing opportunities for our people to be themselves.  Every person, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or background should be able to fulfil their potential at work.

 “We are focussed on creating a culture where people are celebrated for their differences, where those from a BAME background feel included and inspired, where individual contributions are valued not just with words but with progression and pay.

“The firm’s approach to our Inclusion and Diversity strategy is rooted firmly in data collection and analysis.  We have been working on improving data collection by encouraging people to disclose their ethnic background in annual declarations - this resulted in 90% disclosures in 2019. 

“We committed to publicly sharing our ethnicity pay gaps on an annual basis last year and will continue building our data analysis and transparency year on year.  Other key actions that we have taken include our public commitment to the Race at Work Charter, the introduction of reverse mentoring, our research partnership with Cranfield University to assess invisible and unconscious barriers to progression for BAME people in our firm.  

“We have several key programmes in place to help widen access and improve diversity in our trainee recruitment and in our wider profession.  In 2019, we hired 71 students onto our Access Accountancy work experience programme to young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds.  Of these, 50% were from a BAME background.  We have recently partnered with Black Young Professionals Network to sponsor events and advertise roles.

“We are prioritising further analysis of  the impact that intersectionality between different characteristics has on progression and pay through sophisticated data analysis that will form the building blocks of our ongoing goals to drive a culture of inclusivity and improve diversity across  all levels of the firm.”


*Mean - The mean is the average of the numbers. It is calculated by adding up all the numbers, then dividing by how many numbers there are.

**Median - The median is the "middle" value in the list of numbers.

***Figures are reported in line with regulatory requirements for the annual period from April 1 to March 31.