PwC UK publishes socio-economic background and disability pay gaps for the first time as part of its FY21 Annual Report

15 Sep 2021

  • Gender and ethnicity pay gaps continue to close - PwC on track to meet targets for representation by grade by 2025
  • 80% of PwC people have shared data on their socio-economic background (14% of respondents coming from a lower socio economic background). PwC has a targeted action plan in place to increase social mobility through its recruitment, development and progression of employees
  • Robustness of data is key. PwC has had an internal engagement programme in place for a number of years to raise awareness among its people about how sharing their aggregated data is critical when informing action plans and targets
  • Disclosure rates on disability relatively low - programme underway to improve disability awareness and encourage disclosure

As part of its FY21 Annual Report, PwC UK has published its socio-economic background and disability pay gaps for the first time. The move follows the firm publishing a breakdown of its ethnicity pay gap last year, including Black, Asian and Mixed Ethnic Background pay gaps.

It is PwC’s seventh year publishing its gender pay gap, and fifth year voluntarily publishing its ethnicity pay gaps. Both gender and ethnicity pay gaps have continued to close, meaning PwC UK is on track to reach its targets by 2025.

A high level summary of the FY21 pay gaps are below, and more detail can be found on the Diversity Data page of PwC’s Annual Report.

Pay gap



Median gender pay gap including Partners


11.6% (down 1.5%)

Median ethnicity pay gap including partners 


3.5% (down 3.8%)

Median Black pay gap excluding Partners 


6.7% (down 5.6%)

Median socio-economic background pay gap including Partners


No data - new for FY21

Median disability pay gap including Partners 


No data - new for FY21

Kevin Ellis, Chairman and Senior Partner of PwC UK, comments on PwC publishing its socio-economic background pay gap:

“The pandemic has highlighted, and in many cases increased, the inequalities existing within our society so we believe now is the right time to expand on the data we collect and publish. Improving access to opportunity and striving towards a society where a person’s career is based on their potential and not their background remains a priority for PwC, and for me personally.

“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.

“We have more work to do on our action plan, but publishing this data will help shine a light on areas for focus and widen the gate further for those wishing to join PwC.”

Laura Hinton, Chief People Officer at PwC UK, comments on PwC publishing its disability pay gap:

“We know that our data tells an important piece of our diversity story and the fact that a pay gap exists shows that we have more work to do.

“Tackling inequality for those with a disability within the workplace includes its own set of unique challenges, but we’re learning from our work in other areas of inclusion and using these lessons, alongside our data, to improve recruitment processes, access to jobs, accessibility, inclusion and progression for our people with a disability, long-term/ recurring or neurodiverse condition.

“Collecting and publishing our disability pay gap is an important milestone for us as a business, but it is just one step in an ongoing journey. 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.

“As companies become increasingly transparent with their diversity data, it’s important to ensure that the impact for any one issue is not diluted. The core to inclusion is recognising that every person is an individual and creating an environment where everyone can flourish. As such, it’s important for employers to take a holistic approach when addressing challenges around a number of issues, including gender, ethnicity, background, disability and sexual orientation.”

Gender pay gap

PwC has made progress this year in strengthening its pipeline of female talent, particularly at manager and senior manager level, and women made up 41% of internal partner admissions this year. All of this means PwC is on track to achieve its gender targets across all grades by July 2025.

Ethnicity pay gap

PwC has made progress this year, especially at partner level with 13% of new internal partner admissions coming from an ethnic minority background, and the firm is on track to achieve its ethnicity targets across all grades by July 2025.

PwC’s ethnicity pay gaps compare average earnings of its White Ethnic Group population to its Minority Ethnic Group population. The disaggregated ethnicity pay gaps are calculated as the difference between the average earnings received by employees from a specific ethnic background compared to White Ethnic Group staff.

Socio-economic pay gap

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

Disclosure of data is higher among senior levels within the business compared to more junior levels. PwC’s hope is that, by publicly sharing this data and speaking about how it intends to use it to improve social mobility, people applying to work with the company will feel comfortable sharing their socio-economic background data. They will also have more knowledge about how it is being used to positively influence both policy and targets. Stretch targets on representation at each grade within the firm will be informed by a combination of current data, predictive analytics and national and industry benchmarks.

Both the pay gap and the representation by grade data were calculated using information on employees’ parental occupation, which is recognised by the Social Mobility Commission as the best measure of socio-economic background.

As one of the UK’s largest employers of graduates and school leavers, PwC has created and continues to create new jobs and training opportunities for generations of talented young people. The firm’s work with educational institutions is a long term commitment and is at the heart of its social mobility strategy.

Recognised as the number one employer for social mobility in the Social Mobility Foundation’s Employer Index for the past two years, PwC has a targeted action plan in place to increase social mobility through its recruitment, development and progression, community and advocacy activities. Some highlights from the past year include:

  • Continuing to invest in its school and college leaver programme throughout the pandemic, with 124 people joining the programme in 2020, and a similar number joining through this route this year, having had their offers guaranteed regardless of their A Level results. The programme offers people the chance to train and take professional qualifications while earning, setting applicants on the same career trajectory as graduates.
  • Recruiting for the firm’s first ‘New World New Skills’ paid work experience programme ringfenced for year 12 (or equivalent) students from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Working with partner organisations, PwC recruited around 200 students to join the week-long programme. All of the students offered places on the programme met the firm’s social mobility criteria - 45% are eligible for Free School Meals, 84% attend non-selective state school, 75% come from an ethnic minority background and 33% are Black.
  • Over 200 students joined ‘Flying Start Accounting’ degree programmes in the last financial year, bringing the total number of students on this programme to around 650. These are four-year bespoke courses, which blend traditional university with practical paid work experience at PwC throughout the degree. This makes degrees more accessible and career focused.
  • Launching the first ‘Flying Start Financial Bursary’ available to students across all of PwC’s accounting degrees. Successful applicants from lower socio-economic backgrounds will be supported with the day-to-day costs of university life through a £10,000 bursary split across their four-year degree.
  • Partnering with the Refugee Council on a number of programmes including an employability skills development series programme run quarterly for Refugee Council clients. In addition, two candidates were provided with a paid six week training course followed by an 18 week paid work placement in the firm’s IT team. They have since been offered permanent roles with PwC.

Disability pay gap

89% of PwC’s UK employees have shared their data, of which 4% have said they have a disability, long-term/ recurring or neurodiverse condition. PwC acknowledges this percentage is not a true reflection of this population within its business or across society more broadly, but sees the publication of its pay gap as an important step in raising visibility around the issue of support for people with a disability within the workplace.

In order to further increase disclosure rates, a programme of awareness raising around what constitutes a disability, long-term or neurodiverse condition is being undertaken, as well as education on how people can report their data and the positive impact sharing it will have on informing action plans across the business. PwC hopes more of its people will share their information in the year ahead.

Actions taken by PwC on disability in the workplace include:

  • Updating the firm’s recruitment practices on disability, including providing more information for candidates on the adjustments that can be made, creating a team who support candidates directly with their requests for adjustments, advertising with disability careers services such as MyPlus Students Club and Evenbreak, and creating refreshed guidance and training on disability and recruitment adjustments for all recruitment teams.
  • Establishing a Workplace Adjustments team to champion accessibility, bringing different teams across PwC together to collaborate on creating and providing adjustments solutions.
  • Launching an internal resource which is open to all colleagues, providing information, factsheets, signposting to support, and tips for disability inclusion.

From the Autumn of 2021, PwC will run a ‘Disability Insights’ project - a piece of internal research to gain insight on the experience of colleagues with disabilities and long-term conditions, and to understand attitudes on disability inclusion across the firm. This will help update and develop actions to continue robustly measuring, and improving on, the pay gap data and address any disability inclusion gaps in the workplace more broadly.

PwC is also developing disability awareness training and piloting it in certain areas of its business to improve colleagues' understanding of disability and adjustments, develop confidence in having conversations about disability and to learn what support is available at PwC.


Notes to editors

More information on PwC UK’s diversity data and pay gap reporting can be found in its FY21 Annual Report, found here:

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Ellie Raven

Senior Manager, media relations, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44(0)7525 925 830

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