EY UK's gender and ethnicity pay-gaps narrow

19 October 2017 Consultancy.uk 4 min. read
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Figures released by Big Four consultancy EY have revealed the firm’s gender pay-gap stands at almost 20%. In line with rivals Deloitte and PwC, the accounting and advisory group also released data on its ethnicity pay gap, which stood at 17.3%. While both are statistically higher than their competitors, EY’s Partnership model has moved toward greater representative parity.

The world’s fourth largest consulting firm has published its gender and ethnicity pay gap in the United Kingdom. EY joined Big Four competitors Deloitte and PwC in the release of the data, ahead of the UK government’s regulatory April 2018 deadline. KPMG are now the only member of the gang of four who have not published their data on their pay-gap. However, the consultancy have announced they are due to do so in December.

EY revealed that its mean gender pay gap stood at 19.7% this year, with a median of 14.8%. Both PwC and Deloitte’s direct pay-gaps are smaller, at 13.7% and 18.2%, respectively. In the same release, EY did show it had made significant ground in the pursuit of ethnic parity, however, with their mean ethnicity pay-gap standing at 17.3%, with a median of 9.8%.

Rival PwC earlier this year unveiled that its black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) pay gap stood at 12.8%. The difference in bonus pay for women and men also favoured EY, standing at 43.5%, lower than Deloitte’s 50.9%. The ethnicity bonus pay gap, likewise, was at 34.1% at EY, compared to a higher 35.4% at PwC.

EY UK's gender and ethnicity pay gaps narrow

EY explained that while its own medians, based on the government’s methodology, had improved by 10 percentage points since 2012, the gaps remained a structural concern for the future. As was the case with PwC, EY said its pay-gap could be explained by the higher number of men at senior levels and fewer in less senior positions. There are also a larger proportion of women in EY’s more junior administrative jobs. 40% of its UK board are women and 6% are BME. EY’s partnership in the UK is currently 20% female, and 9% BME.

With the earlier release from rivals PwC, analysis showed that the consultancy actually paid BAME and non-BAME employees equally for doing equivalent jobs. However, the firm revealed that BAME workers at the auditing and advisory giant were statistically paid less because more of them worked in administrative and junior roles, while just, 6.5% (58 of 889) of PwC UK Partners were BAME, in contrast to BAME individuals making up 22.1% (3968 of 17948) of the total workforce at the firm. 18% of their Partners were female, meanwhile, suggesting that while their pay-gap medians may be less impressive, EY are besting their rivals when it comes to parity in ascension.

Intake goals

EY Partner intake this year reached an all-time high in the UK, after the firm promoted 669 new partners on a global scale. 63 of those came in Britain, overshadowing the other members of the Big Four, as competitor PwC appointed 52 new partners and Deloitte promoted 57 new partners. 34 out of the 64 equity partners have been internally promoted, while the other 29 were direct entry partners, sourced from former positions with rivals or from specific industries.

Bias continues to be a major block on the advancement of women and BAME personnel in the workplace, which is something EY have made steps to combat through institutional mechanisms, as well as encouraging cultural changes. While its intake figures currently play host to 27% female and 13% BAME individuals, EY revealed that it aimed to have at least 30% female and 10% black and minority ethnic represented in its new partner intake in the future.

Steve Varley, EY’s UK Managing Partner, said, “We have made strong progress in the last five years to improve the representation of diverse talent, in all its forms, and we have an action plan in place to tackle this business critical issue. However, we know there is more work to do to speed up the process of achieving parity in the workplace and looking at this challenge through the lens of the pay gap figures has given us even greater resolve.”

The release comes on the back of comments from Business Minister Margot James, who called for greater transparency in order to bring about cultural change in businesses, before urging other employers to publish their pay gap reports. The UK government announced in 2016 that from April next year, all companies of over 250 people would be required to disclose details of the differences in pay and bonuses between male and female employees from April next year. A league table will then be established, ranking the firms by pay-gap, and employers will be required to publish details of the gap on their websites.