Grant Thornton has reported a gender pay gap that is larger than those of the Big Four accounting firms, attributing it to the imbalanced structure of its workforce.
Grant Thornton’s workforce is split almost equally by gender — 51% men to 49% women across its combined entities — but it has a mean gender pay gap of 26.56% and a mean bonus gap of 51.78%.
Among the Big Four, KPMG has the largest pay gap at 22.3%, followed by EY at 19.7%, Deloitte at 18.2%, and PwC at 13.7%.
Grant Thornton noted that women exceed men in its first-grade bracket but men predominate at higher levels — 64.5% at senior manager, 64.5% at associate director, and 75.9% at director — with the different pay levels at those levels almost completely accounting for the gender pay gap.
“The problem we need to solve is much greater than an issue about pay alone — and we are confident that we pay men and women comparably for the same or similar work, or work of equal value,” the firm said.
“Our gender pay difference is a symptom of the overall gender gap that manifests itself as our people’s careers progress, and the fact that there are more men than women in senior positions,” it added.
According to Accountancy Age, the Grant Thornton numbers support “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 traveling up the corporate pipeline.”
In its 2017 gender survey, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants found that partnership on average remains overwhelmingly male, with women representing only 22% of partners in accounting firms.
Grant Thornton said it has set targets of reducing the pay gap to 18% to 20% by 2020 and increasing the percentage of female partners from 16% to 22% by 2020 and 25% by 2022.
“It’s about doing the right thing — for society, business and for our people,” said Stephanie Hasenbos-Case, leader of people and client experience at Grant Thornton UK.