A NEW study has found out that female ethnic barristers are the lowest-earning as they are less likely to be recommended to clients.
The research by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) has revealed that ‘favouritism around work allocation’ is one of the reasons for the pay disparity.
Factors such as a “drop-off in work” allocated to female barristers if they worked flexible hours to care for children and specialisation in lower earning areas of law are likely to be contributed to the pay gap.
At the self-employed Bar, women outnumbered men for barristers earning under £150,000 a year.
However, only 9.5 per cent of self-employed female barristers earned £240,000 or more, compared with 26.8 per cent of male barristers.
The study also found disparities on ethnicity alone, as among black and ethnic minority barristers, there was a higher proportion (56 per cent) declaring incomes under £90,000 a year than among white colleagues (37 per cent).
Only a handful of female and minority ethnic barristers recorded gross fee incomes exceeding £1 million.
The report also found that only 4.7 per cent of female barristers and 6.5 per cent of BAME barristers had QC status, as against 14.6 per cent of male barristers and 12 per cent of white barristers.
According to the report, barristers whose primary practice address was London were more likely to declare higher incomes than those elsewhere.
More than half (50.6 per cent) of female barristers in London earned less than £90,000 compared with 31.7 per cent of men.
The BSB found women (26.6 per cent) were more likely to specialise in family law than men (9.9 per cent). Male barristers are likely to practise in commercial and financial services (12.6 per cent) as against female barristers (6.7 per cent).
BSB director general Mark Neale told The Telegraph that the firm will continue to prioritise its work on diversity and challenge the Bar to do more in combating discrimination affecting the progression of women and of barristers from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds.