Grant Thornton has become the latest firm to publish its gender pay gap data, revealing its mean gender pay gap to be 26.6% and mean bonus pay gap to be 51.7%.

This figure is higher than the Big Four firms, with EY reporting its pay gap at 19.7%, Deloitte at 18.2%, PwC at 13.7% and KPMG at 22.3%.

Grant Thornton reported that the overall gender split of the firm is balanced (51% men to 49% female), and the mean gender pay gap based on gross basic FTE pay was 1% as of October. The firm thus attributes the pay gap disparity to the greater number of men in senior roles.

At trainee entry level the gender split is generally even, and at the firm’s first grade bracket there are in fact more women (56%). However, the senior ranks are more populated by men, such as the roles of senior manager (64.5% men), associate director (64.5%) and at director level (75.9%).

This supports other gender pay gap research that suggests the disparity does not stem from a lack of women in the workforce, but rather structural and cultural barriers that prevent women from travelling up the corporate pipeline.

Along with this data the top 10 firm has outlined a 2020 pledge and targets to tackle the root causes of imbalance.

The targets include reducing the pay gap to 18-20%, increasing the percentage of female partners from 16% to 22% by 2020, and externally recruiting 20% more female senior managers and directors.

Stephanie Hasenbos-Case, leader of people and client experience at Grant Thornton UK, said that new government regulations have been useful in “in kick-starting activity and commitment to the agenda”, but that “this is more than just a numbers game.”

“It’s about doing the right thing – for society, business and for our people. From recent analysis we can already see that our efforts on this agenda are working and improvements are being made.”

Hasenbos-Case also points to research that demonstrates the benefits of a diverse workforce: “Dynamic businesses need talent to seize opportunities for growth.  Several independent studies (McKinsey, Catalyst, Center for Talent Innovation) have shown that business performance improves with high diversity levels.”

“Our own experiences with clients and prospects have further demonstrated that many value diversity in the teams they work with and even make decisions about where they take their business based on this.”

“To advise our clients effectively it is vital that we offer diverse perspectives – this goes beyond gender in to a wider problem to do with inclusion and it is something we are addressing head on.”

Building on existing systems and measures, Grant Thornton plans to implement a new plan to widen measures targeting gender imbalance by 2020.

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