Scotland

Women solicitors paid less than men

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A large pay gap between men and women solicitors has been found in research by The Law Society of Scotland.

It said its study showed male solicitors being paid up to 42% more than their female counterparts at some stages in their careers.

The law society said there was little difference between male and female earnings when they started out.

But from the age of 36 onwards, women generally appeared to be paid lower salaries than men of the same age.

The society compared average full-time and full-time equivalent salaries for women and men at all career stages.

There are as many women as men among the society's 11,000 members and a quarter of those eligible responded to the survey.

The research showed women were more prevalent in the salary bands up to £65,000 and men in salary bands over £65,000.

Little change

It found that women tended to remain associates or assistants rather than be promoted to partner level.

Janet Hood, convener of the body's equality committee, said: "A 42% gender pay gap reflects very badly on what is otherwise a modern and forward-thinking profession - with some female solicitors effectively working for free for five months of the year.

"There are many and nuanced reasons why the gender pay gap exists and the legal profession is certainly not alone - figures from November 2014 show that the overall UK gap was 9.4%.

"However, we have seen little change in the past decade compared to other professions such as accountancy or dentistry and it is a major concern that such a substantial gap persists 45 years after the UK Equal Pay Act."

"Quite simply it is not something we can afford to ignore, for either ethical or business reasons."

There appears to be an issue around assumptions made about women, the society said.

Its report indicated that women earned less than their male counterparts whether or not they had children.

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