White male barristers earn twice as much as female, ethnic minority colleagues
White male barristers earn more than twice as much as female barristers from ethnic minority backgrounds, figures from the Bar Standards Board (BSB) show.
White men working as barristers earned £238,241 in 2020, while women from ethnic minority backgrounds earned just £98,324 over the same period of time.
On average, female barristers earned just more than half (52 per cent) of the incomes earned by their male counterparts, while barristers from ethnic minority backgrounds earned just more than two-thirds (68 per cent) of the incomes paid out to white colleagues
Furthermore, the BSB said the “marked” disparities cannot be explained away by discrepancies in expertise or experience between the genders and ethnic groups, as it said the pay gaps remain evident when barristers are grouped by seniority or practice area.
The BSB figures show that barristers’ incomes dropped from 2019 to 2020, due to the impacts of the pandemic. However, the drop in incomes disproportionately impacted barristers from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Barristers working in criminal practices and barristers working outside of London were also disproportionately impacted by falling incomes.
Furthermore, the figures show that black barristers earn significantly less than Asian barristers, who in turn earn less than white barristers.
On average, black barristers earned £83,901 in 2020, while Asian barristers earned £141,566, and white barristers earned £197,833.
Shadae Cazeau, BSB Head of Equality and Access to Justice, said: “These disparities are marked and cannot be explained away by seniority, geography or area of law practised.”