PWC working class staff receive 12.1% less pay

PWC has revealed in its 2021 diversity report that its staff from a working class background, including partners, typically received 12.1% less pay than other colleagues.

This is the first time the accounting firm’s diversity report has published comprehensive pay gap data on socio-economic background and disability. The report also looks at pay disparities relating to gender and ethnicity.

The analysis, based on information shared by 80% of PWC’s staff on the occupation of their highest earning parent, showed that 14% come from a lower socio-economic background.

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Disclosure of data was higher at senior levels, but PWC said it hoped that by sharing the data and plans to improve social mobility, more people will feel comfortable sharing their socio-economic background.

On disability, 89% of PWC’s UK employees shared their data, of which 4% have said they have a long-term or recurring disability or a neurodiverse condition. It found that staff with a disability received 16.8% less pay, measured by the median.

PWC said its gender pay gap, including partners, fell from a median of 11.6%  in 2020 to 10.1% in 2021. Excluding partners, PWC’s median gender pay gap fell from 7.8% to 6%.

The accounting organisation said it had made good progress “in strengthening our pipeline of female talent”, particularly at manager and senior manager level, and that women accounted for 41% of internal partner admissions this year.

Kevin Ellis, chairman and senior partner, PWC UK, explained that the time was right to expand on the data PWC publishes and that it remains a priority for both himself and the company to boost access to opportunity and ensure a person’s career is based on their potential and not their background.

He added: “The key to enacting real and meaningful change is starting with a strong platform of data. We’ve been focused on social mobility for a number of years and, by putting their trust in us through sharing their data, our people are giving us the information we need to take action in areas where it is needed.”

Laura Hinton, chief people officer, PWC UK, said the publication of its disability pay gap is an important milestone for the organisation but only one part of an ongoing strategy.

She added: “We’ve learnt a lot over the past few years about the importance of encouraging our employees to voluntarily share their data, which provides us with an invaluable tool in identifying and tackling areas where improvement is needed.”