Pay gap report 2023

A note from Christian Norris, our Chief Executive Officer

We are committed to being transparent about our progress towards being a more inclusive and diverse organisation. Since 2018, we have published our gender pay gap in line with UK Government reporting requirements. I'm pleased that this year we are publishing our ethnicity pay gap, despite there being no legal requirement to report this, as I firmly believe that data transparency drives positive action. 

Our aspiration is to nurture and promote a workplace where all our people can meet their career potential, feel a sense of community and belonging, bring their best self to work, and contribute to our continued success as a business. We see diversity as a strength, fueling our people’s ingenuity and we are dedicated to continually developing our culture and environment to fully embrace the diversity of our workforce, delivering better outcomes for our clients, our communities, and our people.

Christian Norris

Our 2023 gender pay gap headlines

Overall gender pay gap between men and women

Breakdown of our mean gender pay gap by role

Gender pay gap progress 2018 vs 2023

Percentage of our people who get a bonus

Gender split across our hourly pay quartiles

Pay quartiles show hourly pay for all employees. They are sorted into order from lowest amount to highest amount. This ordered list is then split into 4 equal parts, known as quartiles. These graphics show the percentage of men and women in each of these quartiles.

Percentage of women by rank 2018 to 2023

What does our gender pay gap data show?

Helen Mullings, our Chief People Officer explains

Whilst being transparent about the pace of progress is critical to driving further change, I’m aware that pay gaps are just one element of our inclusion and diversity journey. 

Our pay gap exists because women are underrepresented at senior levels. To date, we have made good progress towards improving this. 

Today, 34 percent of our consulting workforce are women and we have just over 20 percent women Partners. If we look at our early ranks and age groups, we are already very close to gender parity. 

We have increased the proportion of women in our non-Partner consulting ranks, initially through hiring at more junior levels and then through improved retention and progression. In the last three years, we have also seen a significant increase in female Partners achieved through both hiring and internal promotion. 

However, it is also clear that we cannot be complacent. This year, we have seen a slight increase in our hourly pay gaps. To grow the representation of women at PA, we have increased the proportion of women at junior levels, which can be achieved through recruiting from a relatively gender-equal talent pool. As we successfully increase the representation in our junior and mid-level ranks, however, this is having an inadvertent short-term negative impact on our pay gap as we skew representation towards the more junior ranks. To correct for this, we need to increase the rate at which we grow representation at a senior level through promotion and hiring. 

Additionally, an increase in demand for technical roles with STEM/digital skills, which tend to carry a salary premium, is making closing our pay gap more challenging. Even at junior levels, the competition for women is fierce and at mid and senior levels (which are also more highly paid roles), the external talent pool is more gender unequal and so hiring a disproportionate share of women is difficult. This has a further negative impact on our gender pay gap. 

Our focus moving forwards must be on accelerating increased representation at mid and senior levels by retaining and progressing more women from within our organisation, whilst also ensuring we strive for more gender-balanced hiring. We also need to target our work in STEM/digital roles to ensure the progress we are seeing on gender representation is replicated across all levels of our business.

Helen Mullings

How we're addressing our gender pay gap

We continually assess the root causes and drivers of our gender pay gap and seek to confront these issues head on with targeted interventions and programmes of work.

Increasing the representation of women in more senior roles

Embedding I&D in performance, succession and pipeline planning

Within the sectors we operate, we are developing succession plans for all key roles from within our Partner group. These roles include sector leads, governance group members, and key account lead roles. We ensure all succession plans include a diversity lens with a focus on gender and ethnicity, in particular. When senior leadership roles become vacant, we run an open process where candidates outside of the succession plan can still put themselves forward and we encourage a diverse candidate group. Selection panels are similarly diverse. We are also implementing talent pipeline reports and reviews with key leaders so that we can identify actions to accelerate progression at an individual level. 

We have redesigned our evaluation and performance process to reduce bias and carefully monitor the entirety of the process, intervening when a need arises. Our rigorous promotion process is centred around candidate merit and readiness, not self-advocacy. We now include additional new evaluation guidance and criteria for flexible working patterns and for women on family leave to ensure these do not negatively impact on women’s promotion prospects.

Delivering sponsorship, mentoring, and learning where it matters most

  • Women in Leadership: This flagship sponsorship programme aims to better enable senior mid-level women to navigate PA as we collectively evolve our culture and actively work to remove barriers to progression. The programme has significantly improved promotion results for women participants.
  • 360 Voice Circles: This unique mentorship programme for members of the PA Women’s Network brings together small groups of women and non-binary individuals from across PA to provide collective peer-to-peer mentorship. This programme is different to traditional mentoring relationships as participants act as both mentor and mentee (regardless of rank or seniority). The programme aims to support participants with building career enhancing and enriching networks across the organisation.
  • PA Reverse Mentoring (PARM): This programme provides senior individuals from across the firm with the opportunity to be mentored by someone junior to them and with lived experience of a particular demographic or identity. These relationships can lead to profoundly transformative insights into the lived experiences of particular demographics and identities, and are a powerful tool for promoting a culture of understanding and inclusion.
  • Creating Inclusive Cultures Learning Plan: This global plan has modules tailored to specific roles and ranks, with additional learning resources provided, where appropriate, to create a learning ecosystem on inclusion and diversity. Training covers fundamental topics including respectful behaviours, inclusive leadership and psychological safety, and inclusive and supportive line management. There are also targeted learning pathways for those involved in recruitment and anti-bias training for those involved in performance evaluation, in addition to a library of engaging I&D learning content such as workplace gender allyship.

Increasing recruitment and progression of women for STEM/digital roles

Targeted recruitment strategies

We continue to build on advancements in our recruitment strategy to deliver more gender equal outcomes. At an early careers level, we take a data driven approach that targets outreach at universities with a greater proportion of women studying STEM/digital courses. 

We partner with a number of organisations to promote STEM/digital career opportunities for junior women. At early careers, we use data analysis to ensure that our assessment processes are bias-free and are actively targeting increased female applications and offers with aspirational targets for early career roles in STEM/digital areas of our business. For experienced hires in our digital capabilities, we are piloting a new competency assessment framework, candidate scoring matrixes, and new technical tests for candidates. We now require interview panels to be gender diverse, further supporting efforts to remove bias from our hiring processes.

Women in Tech

This award-winning network is at the forefront of driving gender diversity within technical roles in the wider industry and at PA as a whole. The network focuses on recruitment and retention approaches, and driving inclusive behaviours and attitudes. It works to empower and develop women across PA through delivering a range of learning programmes including coding and technical skills development courses to women and non-binary people. 

Women in Tech also delivers external career changer and mentorship schemes to attract new female talent to PA. It partners with Code First Girls - the largest provider of free coding courses for women in the UK - to offer career pathways in software, data, and full-stack web development.

Building on broader I&D activity to reduce our gender pay gap

We are guided by data to drive targeted interventions

We use live insights from our diversity data, delivered through a real-time data dashboard, to highlight pain points and trends indicating the need for targeted interventions and inform localised thinking and strategy. We also use data to indicate work in parts of the organisation that we may want to share with the wider business. Sharing the dashboard openly with all our people provides full transparency on gender representation and drives accountability in our leadership.

We support our working families

We have redesigned our parental support policies and approach to reduce the impact of maternity breaks on career momentum. We offer coaching for all parents on return from leave with one-to-one coaching for those at senior levels. We have improved our policy offerings to offer adjusted targets for new parents, ramp up/down for those taking parental leave, and additional support for line managers of those returning from maternity breaks. 

We have bolstered our support and benefits provision with a newly launched Working Families Employee Network Group providing opportunities for coaching, support, and peer-to-peer advice.

We provide internal channels to give all our employees an effective voice

Our vibrant and active networks support an inclusive and diverse environment for our colleagues and communities. They celebrate, educate, and raise awareness of key issues, themes, and concerns while acting as a forum for discussion and debate to drive, support, and provide input on our global I&D strategy and associated initiatives. 

Our Women’s Network continues to be at the forefront of our gender equity efforts and is focused on supporting career advancement and progression for women at PA. The network delivers campaigns designed to tackle the most pressing issues facing women at PA and hosts regular global events, workshops, and networking opportunities, and promotes active allyship throughout our firm. 

We also have a number of local I&D working groups across our business areas and regions. These groups are our ambassadors, responsible for building local communities and I&D engagement, cascading central I&D initiatives, and ensuring these are brought to life across our business.

We collaborate with others to guide our strategy

We have partnered with expert external bodies to gain access to objective assessment, best-practice, and advice.

  • Women In Science and Engineering (WISE): Working with WISE, we conducted a deep dive benchmarking assessment of our employee lifecycle to introduce programmes designed to improve representation of women in technical roles.
  • UN Target Gender Equality Accelerator programme 2023/4: We completed the Women’s Empowerment Principles benchmarking assessment, gaining valuable insight into where we can be doing more to promote greater gender equity.
  • Diversity Mark (Northern Ireland): Awarded Diversity Mark’s Bronze standard in acknowledgement of us meeting a threshold of good practice on gender equality.

Our 2023 ethnicity pay gap headlines

Overall ethnicity pay gap

The ethnicity pay gap is the measure of the difference in average pay between colleagues that have declared themselves as being from a minority ethnic background versus being majority white. We report based on self declaration rates. Currently 65 percent of our UK population have declared their ethnicity.

Pay gap by ethnicity

These are measured as average pay between those identifying as part of a particular ethnic group in comparison to majority white.

Percentage of people receiving a bonus broken down by ethnicity

What does our ethnicity pay gap data show?

Helen Mullings, our Chief People Officer, explains

This is the first year we have conducted a substantial analysis of our ethnicity pay gap and it forms part of a wider focus on race and ethnicity at PA. The data is revealing.

Currently we only have data from 65 percent of eligible employees. Clearly, we have more work to do to encourage our employees to share their diversity data with us and boost our declaration rates. This will help us to ensure our reporting becomes increasingly accurate and targeted in the future.

As with our gender pay gap, the main driver of our ethnicity pay gap is a lack of representation of minority ethnic individuals in senior positions. Overall, in locations where we are able to collect ethnicity data, 15 percent of our workforce is from a minority ethnic background. However, within our partnership, only nine percent of our partners are from a minority ethnic background with minority ethnic individuals disproportionately represented at our junior (and therefore lower paid) ranks.

Within this data there are also significant disparities. Our pay gap is significantly smaller for those from Asian backgrounds when compared to those from Black, mixed ethnic backgrounds or other ethnic groups. Looking at minority ethnic representation at all levels of seniority, people from Asian backgrounds make up almost two thirds of our minority ethnic population.

Furthermore, at more senior levels (and therefore in more highly paid roles) this representation disparity is more pronounced, highlighting that challenges around progression and career advancement are not evenly felt across all minority ethnic groups.

Our efforts moving forwards must be increasing representation at all levels for minority ethnic individuals, with a particular focus on developing talent from within our organisation towards mid and senior levels, whilst also ensuring we strive for more ethnically diverse hiring.

We also need to work towards ensuring more equitable career outcomes for people regardless of race or ethnicity. This will require specific targeted programmes and initiatives aimed to support those demographics that are the most underrepresented and where the data points to the most challenges with career progression.

Note: We collect ethnicity data on our people in the US and UK. We are unable to collect, analyse, and report on information on employee race and ethnicity in our other locations as data protection legislation and practice prevents us from doing so.

What are we doing to reduce our ethnicity pay gap?

Creating strategies for change

We are conducting a deep dive analysis across our people strategy to identify specific steps and strategies for improving positive career outcomes for minority ethnic individuals. We want to renew our efforts to address the disparities in representation and opportunities that exist for minority ethnic individuals in our business and the sectors in which we operate. At the same time, we want to better understand the unique and specific challenges and inequalities faced by particular ethnic and intersectional groups to develop targeted strategies to reduce and overcome these.

We also want to better understand our minority ethnic populations lived experience and are reviewing our people engagement survey data through an ethnicity lens for the first time, alongside extensive feedback gathered from our employee race and ethnicity network group. In the coming year, we will translate our findings into an impactful new race and ethnicity strategy for PA, designed to inform our thinking and actions for the coming years.

Being more effective with data

We are actively targeting increases in the diversity data we hold beyond gender. The introduction of a new HR system in 2023 allowed us to make significant changes to the way we collect data on our people. In line with recognised good practice in this area we have improved the framing of our questions and the answer options we offer. 

Giving our employees the opportunity to self-identify on our systems allows us to improve monitoring and reporting on demographic data across the employee experience and build strategies to create a more inclusive workplace. Since the launch of our new approach to diversity data collection, we have delivered campaigns and messaging that seeks to build trust and confidence in our new system and empowers our people to share their diversity data with us.

We are now able to build our race and ethnicity data into our real-time diversity dashboard reporting, enabling us to set targeted strategies. We are also able to apply more rigorous analysis to performance and promotion processes to ensure that these do not carry any bias towards minority ethnic individuals.

Building a community of race and ethnicity change makers

Our RISE (Racial Inclusion & Social Equity) employee network celebrates Black, Asian and minority ethnic cultures at PA. Its aim is to empower talent, build an inclusive environment, and promote the value of a more diverse workforce by creating a space for all minority ethnic colleagues to be heard. A workplace where everyone - regardless of race, ethnicity, culture or background - feels comfortable being their best self. The network promotes awareness of minority ethnic cultures and experiences through events, networking sessions, and mentoring programmes, whilst also providing strategic input to senior leadership to influence corporate change.

What is the gender and ethnicity pay gap?

The gender pay gap shows the difference in the average hourly pay between all men and women in the organisation, expressed relative to male earnings. The gender pay gap is different from equal pay, which deals with pay differences between men and women who do the same jobs, or work of equal value. 

The ethnicity pay gap is the measure of the difference in average pay between colleagues that have declared themselves as being from a minority ethnic background versus being majority white. 

We already have equal pay across PA. We conduct equal pay audits annually, benchmarking the salaries of those who do the same jobs or work of equal value, and analysing results for bias before correcting any inconsistencies.

The mean pay gap calculation

The median pay gap calculation

We use similar calculation methods to calculate our mean and median ethnicity pay gaps

We confirm we calculated our gender pay gap in accordance with The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017.

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) advises organisations to report on pay gap data using information employees have provided for payroll purposes. This is a binary field (male or female). We are committed to respecting how an employee identifies in terms of their gender. We follow current GEO guidance on pay gap reporting in cases where an individual identifies as non-binary (not identifying as either male or female). This allows for employers to omit non-binary individuals from gender pay gap calculations.


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