At Knights we are committed to our unique culture, maintaining a ‘one team’ approach based on the principles of fairness, openness and trust. We seek to enable all of our people to fulfil their full potential on an equal footing, supporting flexible working arrangements alongside a belief that we work better when we are together. We are committed to giving our employees freedom and choice when determining their career path by facilitating moves between different specialisms, and between fee earning and operational roles as and when opportunities arise.
Knights remains unusual in the legal sector, operating within a corporate structure rather than as a partnership. As such, all of the data within this report incorporates the remuneration of everyone within the business, including all employees designated as partners, Directors and Board members (excluding non-executive board members).
In the 12 months prior to 5 April 2022 (‘Snapshot Date’) we acquired 5 law firms and our data set includes all those who joined us within the reporting period, whether through organic recruitment or acquisition, unless specifically noted otherwise.
The information provided in this report therefore clearly captures the full picture at Knights, and the analysis demonstrates the commitment to our principles across all parts of the business.
By law, men and women must receive equal pay for the same or broadly similar work, work rated as equivalent under a job evaluation scheme or work of equal value. Knights has a clear policy of paying employees equally for the same or equivalent work.
Knights’ median gender pay gap has reduced since the 2021 report.
We have seen a 9% reduction in our median gender pay gap (45% in 2017 and 36% in 2022). We remain committed to continuing to take steps to ensure that our staff are paid fairly for the work that they do. We remain confident that our gender pay gap does not stem from paying women differently for the same or equivalent value work, rather it reflects the type of roles that our female staff predominantly work in.
Knights is proud of its commitment to fairness and equality to all of its workforce and we are continuing to make significant progress in eroding historical gender pay gaps arising through restricted access to the legal profession generally; this is demonstrated by the fact that 70% of those promoted in the reporting period were female, and 81% of those promoted to Partner were female. We continue to promote on merit alone rather than tenure or other factors, which has resulted in a greater proportion of promotions for female fee earning colleagues as compared to male across the board. Furthermore, Knights has focused on family-friendly rights within the business, matching the pay available for those on maternity leave and shared parental leave, and accommodating a wide variety of flexible working arrangements, with 20% of the workforce working part time in the reporting period.
While it is still the case that a greater proportion of women as compared to men work part time, we seek to ensure there is no impact on salary resulting from working part time hours.
Knights takes care in ensuring fairness in its review of remuneration across the business. As our staff do not have financial targets, pay increases are awarded based on merit taking into account the overall contribution made to the business. We continue to strive to reward our staff based on merit alone and feedback from our colleagues has been consistently in favour of salary reviews to reflect performance rather than using set objective criteria or pay grades.
Staff are invited to raise questions around any decisions about remuneration without fear of reproach, and we pride ourselves on our transparent and even-handed approach to remuneration across the business as a whole.
When acquiring other businesses, Knights takes particular care when reviewing the salaries offered, and seeks to adjust where appropriate to ensure that staff are rewarded appropriately for the work they do, including performance against non-financial measures and taking into account market rates where relevant. This process generally takes place in the 12 months following an acquisition to ensure that a fair assessment can be made.
As a general rule, Knights do not pay bonuses as we prefer to pay a higher non-discretionary salary. The approach to bonus payments is reflected in the fact that 0.4% of all male and 2.15% of all female staff received a bonus in the reporting period, together representing 2.6% of our workforce as a whole. Bonus Payments accounted for 0.08% of our total wages and salary costs for the financial year ending 30 April 2022. Bonus payments within the reporting period relate mainly to the buyout of historic bonus arrangements inherited on acquisition. The mean bonus pay gap was 80% and the median bonus pay gap was 89%.
Where a contractual right to a bonus is inherited on acquisition of another business we usually seek to buy out this right and instead reward those members of staff through a guaranteed salary at a higher level.
I confirm that the data in this report has been calculated accreting to the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017.
CEO, Knights Professional Services Limited