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Measuring the Gender Pay Gap

A gender pay gap is the difference in the average paid to an organisation’s male and female employees. It does not consider the nature of an employee’s work or their seniority within an organisation.

It is also not the same as an equal pay comparison, which would compare the pay awarded to male employees and female employees doing the same, similar, or equivalent work. For example, an organisation paying men and women equally at each level of seniority can still have a gender pay gap, if women are underrepresented at higher levels.


How are the median and mean gaps calculated?

We have calculated the median and mean gaps according to the gender pay gap reporting regulations. This means we have taken a snapshot of pay data for more than 630 relevant employees on 5 April 2022, then cross referenced this against whether individuals define themselves as male or female.

To calculate the median gap we hypothetically line up all our male employees in one line, and our female employees in another. The median gender pay gap is the difference in pay between the female employee in the centre of the line and the male colleague in their line.

The mean gender pay gap is calculated by comparing the average hourly rate of pay between male and female employees. The same approach is used to compare the difference in median and mean bonus pay. However, rather than taking a snapshot of a single day, this is based on bonus pay in the 12 month period to 5 April 2022. The percentage of male and female employees awarded bonus pay over the same period is also recorded.


How are the pay quartiles calculated?

This report also includes details of the percentage of male and female employees in each pay quartile e.g. the gender split of those in the highest paid quarter of employees, the second highest quarter, and so on.


What’s included in our calculations?

In line with Government guidance, our median and mean pay calculations, and our calculations of quartile pay bands, are based on data from April 2022 only, including ordinary pay and bonus pay. Ordinary pay includes basic pay as well as pay for leave. It does not include pay given in lieu of leave, paid overtime, pay relating to redundancy/termination of employment, or the value of benefits in kind. Bonus pay includes any additional pay awarded to individuals for exceptional performance. In our case the bulk of bonus pay is awarded under the firm’s annual bonus scheme.


Understanding Our Results

Percentage of men and women in each hourly pay quarter:

Pay Quartile Male % Female % Q1 (lower) 40.8 59.2 Q2 (lower middle) 32.5 67.5 Q3 (upper middle) 36.9 63.1 Q4 (upper) 65.8 34.2


Pay Gap

Mean (average) gender pay gap for hourly pay: 43.9% Median gender pay gap for hourly pay: 16.1%

Bonus Gap

Percentage receiving bonus pay: men: 63.5%, women: 65.3% Mean (average) gender pay gap for bonus pay: 58.9% Median gender pay gap for bonus pay: 19.85%

We are pleased to report that the median bonus gap has reduced by 13.45%. This means that we have achieved a greater, and more even distribution of bonuses between men and women across all levels of our business than the last reporting period. However, our mean and median pay gap needs to be improved and we have both the commitment and actions in place to continue addressing it.


There are several key factors which have impacted our pay gap figures for 2022:
  • Sharing Success

In 2021 we moved from a traditional LLP Law Firm to a Limited Company. Unlike the majority of our competitors, this reporting period’s pay gap figures now includes the salaries of our legacy Equity & Fixed Share Partners who are now employees and who were not included in previous years’ reporting (in line with the gender pay gap guidance). Accordingly, our results cannot be measured against many of our competitors on a like for like basis unless they include equity partners and fixed share partners in their reporting calculations.

The transition to Ltd status was key to enabling us  to fulfil a long-standing ambition of our CEO & Managing Partner; to share our success with all our employees through the implementation, in January 2023, of our all-employee share scheme allowing every employee to own a piece of the company

  • Growth

As part of our growth strategy, we also expanded our client offer through the introduction of a number of new divisions expanding our offering through lateral hires. This has impacted the gender pay figures as, common to the legal sector, these roles are often held by more senior men than women and we have added a number of new divisions.

As with many professional services firms, we have a higher percentage of women across our lower, lower-middle and upper-middle quartiles, and a higher percentage of men in more senior management and leadership roles.  This also helps explain the differential in our mean bonus pay gap and with our focus on promoting from within HF, we are actively taking steps to ensure our talent pipeline addresses this balance.

We aim to reduce and ultimately eliminate our gender pay gap and know we still have more to do.

We are proud of our diverse and inclusive culture which offers the opportunity to succeed in law, regardless of gender, background, beliefs, disabilities, or any other factor.  Our ongoing initiatives are part of our long-term commitment to that culture and the development and progression of the talent within HF, including supporting, encouraging and providing equity to boost the career development of women across our business.

  • Career Development & Progression

Over the course of 2022 we are proud to say that more females were promoted into senior positions than ever before; 62.5% of Associate promotions, 87.5% of Senior Associate promotions, 50% of Associate Partner promotions and 60% of Partner promotions were women. We remain committed to promoting the most capable people in our business and we are pleased that this continues to be demonstrated through our transparent promotion processes.

Were continuing our efforts to review all recruitment and career development processes to ensure they support our commitments to improving gender equality.

  • Flexible Working & Maternity Leave

Our people have told us that flexible working and additional support during maternity leave were two of the single most important enablers facilitating progression in our business and we continue to develop and promote this strategy.

Over the past 2 years, we have introduced a number of options to genuinely increase flexible working within our hybrid model of  working from both office and home. Our enhanced maternity & adoption leave also provides significantly increased support for parents who have more than 2 years’ service.

More recently we’ve updated our Flexible Working Policy, extending our start and finish times to 06:00 – 21:00, depending on the role. Our flexible working options include compressed hours, weekend working, and temporary part-time hours during school holidays. This enables people to better manage their work life balance; manage any caring responsibilities, and travel at off-peak times avoiding crowded and sometimes more expensive public transport. We are very pleased with the overwhelmingly positive feedback from our teams.

Currently 26.6% of women employed by HF take advantage of one of our flexible working options compared to 8.3% of men.

  • Women’s Network

Our Women’s Network, Women at HF, is active in helping us direct our policies and initiatives to help improve gender equality.

As well as that strategic focus, the group engages people across the organisation through sharing  lived experiences, building relationships and networks, providing support and helping drive initiatives that promote gender equality throughout the year.

In March 2023 the group held an event for International Women’s Day where we were able to bring together face to face, for the first time in several years, over 50 people in person, with a further 30 streaming the event online) to hear an inspirational talk from an external speaker on a range of topics featured during her career, including equity, imposter syndrome and the importance of women’s networks.

The Women at HF network will continue its focus and activities as we work together to ensure gender equality and a genuinely inclusive environment for all.


See our previous reports: