Recruitment strategy supported by Gender Action Plan, targeting 30% women partnership by 2025

Osborne Clarke is introducing a number of measures to reduce its gender pay gap and increase female representation in its partnership by 2025. The firm has undertaken detailed work during the last year to understand its challenges around retention, progression and the impact of lateral hiring on diversity.

"Over the next three years we want to be more focused on actions that will close the gap"

Bola Gibson, Head of Inclusion and Corporate Responsibility at Osborne Clarke, said: "We've made progress on our Partner Gender Pay Gap (now at 14% median, from 29% in 2017) and our Ethnicity Pay Gap (now at 7% median, from 22% last year), but our overall Gender Pay Gap has remained fairly static, as has the proportion of women who make up our partnership. Over the next three years we want to be more focused on actions that will close the gap and those that will help increase the proportion of women who make up our partnership." 

The firm is launching OC50:50 to reach its target of 30% women in partnership by 2025. The principle will see the firm aim for gender equality among its senior hires, partner recruitment and promotion and succession pipeline over the next three years.  As Bola commented, "In order to reach 30%, we have to aim for 50% in the short term. There's a glut of female talent in the organisation and wider market, and we want to remove the barriers and provide the support needed to see them realise that potential."

To meet these goals, Osborne Clarke has developed a Gender Action Plan targeting short and medium-term actions targeting key internal processes and policies that will improve the gender balance in senior positions. The integrated change programme has three core principles: 

  • embedding an inclusive recruitment process which delivers balanced results at all levels of seniority
  • providing opportunities for progression and promotion which are fair and transparent and reflect the pool of talent available; and
  • challenging the firm to create a culture and environment which meets the needs of a modern workforce.

The firm's employee network, OC Gender, which is led by Partner Champions Matthew Edwards and Caroline Saul, continue to play an important role challenging the firm and championing inclusive values as part of the action plan. 

"We're delivering on a number of recommendations to ensure we're attracting and hiring diverse talent"

"Following an independent review of our recruitment policies and practices, we're delivering on a number of recommendations to ensure we're attracting and hiring diverse talent. We're improving our data analysis capability, providing formal inclusive hiring skills training for all hiring managers and partnering with recruitment agencies that can help us deliver on our aspirations", said Matthew.

"We're working to understand and deliver a workplace that is agile and flexible, and which can attract high quality female talent and retain the talent we already have. We've also invested in a firm-wide personal development programme – OC Careers. Recognising the progression and development challenges for specific groups, the programme launched with  a 65-strong pilot cohort of colleagues underrepresented in our leadership.

"Our gender action plan follows on from our short term race action plan. These are just two programmes of work that we are implementing to ensure Osborne Clarke is a diverse and inclusive place to work.  Effective cultural change takes time and as our firm continues to grow, our mission is to deliver a safe, healthy and enriching environment which is happy, healthy and as inclusive as possible," said Caroline. 

Osborne Clarke was an early signatory of The Law Society's Women in Law Pledge, which was created in June 2019 to bring gender equality to the forefront of the conversation in the legal sector and developing an action plan is a key commitment of our pledge. 

Being a responsible and ethical business and employer underpins Osborne Clarke's business strategy. The Osborne Clarke For Good framework is the firm's way of ensuing it's a good corporate citizen, a good employer and a good business.


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