Big Four audit firm PwC UK has said that 14% of its staff come from working class backgrounds and tend to receive lower pay packets than their peers.
The firm said staff from a lower socio-economic background were paid a median 12.1% less than their colleagues, according to pay gap data based on parental occupation which the firm has published for the first time.
“Closing these pay and bonus gaps and increasing the representation of staff from a lower socio-economic background at all levels of our organisation, especially the more senior levels, will continue to be a key priority for us,” the firm said in its annual report to the end of June 2021, published on 15 September.
The firm’s median gender pay gap was 6% and its mean gender pay gap was 9.4%, down from 7.8% and 11% respectively the previous year.
PwC’s median ethnicity pay gap was -2.9% and its mean ethnicity pay gap was 7.6%, compared with 1.1% and 9.2% the previous year.
Representation along class lines has moved up the agenda for leading consultancies in recent months, however.
Last week, rival auditor KPMG UK said that it wanted 29% of its partners and directors to come from a working class background by 2030.
The firm said 23% of its 582 partners and 20% of its 1,297 directors are from working class backgrounds, with the median pay gap between staff from a professional background and those from a working class background 8.6%.
PwC’s annual report showed its revenue rose 2% for the year, with profit per partner up 26% to £868,000.
Average partner pay was 14.8 times higher than average employee pay plus bonus.
The firm’s chair Kevin Ellis was paid £4.4m and the firm’s management board shared £26m.
“Through the summer we, like all businesses, faced significant economic disruption and huge uncertainty about how the pandemic would play out. Then, by the later stages of the financial year, greater clarity emerged, and with that, a ramping up of client demand,” Ellis said.
“This demand across all parts of our business has driven growth and a strong financial performance enabling us to continue to invest,” he added.
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