By DebbieH 10 Feb 2020 7 min read

Occupational gender differences in the legal industry

In January, we released our 2018-19 annual report, which brought about some interesting findings about professionals in the legal industry.

The report included insights relevant to the legal industry – for example, salary information, insights into your job search, category profiles and your interest in the roles available on our site. We also discussed challenges to the industry and how we as a jobs board will move forward in 2020 to make Simply Law Jobs the best site for users.

One of the more interesting areas we collected data for was gender insights. We were curious to know which genders favoured which specific roles in 2019, and if they reflected current statistics in the industry at present. So, using our data collected from Google Analytics, we’ll dive into our findings below:


The following roles are just a snippet of the categories we looked at in the report.


Paralegal – Male 36.66% : 63.34% Female

63.34% of females browsed Paralegal jobs in 2019, suggesting that there is a lack of interest from males for this role. In 2018, there was a similar balance. 


Solicitor – Male 44.08% : 55.92% Female

In a landmark for the legal industry that nevertheless raises some uncomfortable truths, the number of working female solicitors in England and Wales exceeded men for the first time in 2018. For the second year in a row, we also recorded more interest from females than males for Solicitor jobs. 

Key statistics on the profession from The Law Society confirmed that this gender report reflects the industry numbers – on the 31st July 2018, there were 51.83% of female solicitors on the Roll, compared to 48.7% of males.

While there has been data collected in the past to suggest that females are not playing a part in the more senior roles in law, this surge in female solicitors is certainly paving the path for women to rise to more senior positions. Men however, were still outnumbering women in private practice overall in 2018, according to The Law Society.


Legal Assistant – Male 34.01% : 65.99% Female

In 2018, the gender split for Legal Assistant roles was 27.03 (male) to 72.97% female. This year, the gap appears to have minimised slightly.


Legal Secretary – Male 22.95% : 77.05%

Females were the clear majority browsing for Legal Secretary jobs. This was a similar result to last year too, where.


Lawyer – Male 44.57% : 55.43% Female

Similar to our findings in the Solicitor category, this year we again saw a female majority interest in Lawyer jobs. According to the SRA in 2017, women made up 48% of all lawyers in law firms and 47% of the UK workforce. This has since increased from what we can see from Solicitor representation, but differences do become more apparent however when we look at male to female ratio in seniority roles. 


Associate – Male 51.89% : 48.11%

As mentioned in our Solicitor and Lawyer category discussions, males seem to be more interested in senior roles, however, in our 2018 report, the numbers lie at 39.8% male to 60.2% female, which suggests there may have been a slight shift in interest over the last year.


Graduate/Trainee – Male 36.51% : 68.93% Female

In 2018, 18,850 students were accepted on to legal courses in the UK. According to the Law Society, 68% were female, while 31% were male. These figures support those collected from our gender insights in terms of the split we see in graduates/trainees showing an interest in relevant roles in 2019. 


Data collected from the largest UK and US firms in London, using a list derived from The Lawyer magazine’s rankings, revealed a sharp drop-off in the number of women as they progress up the legal ranks, compounded by stark pay gaps between the sexes, particularly at higher levels.


Would you like to see the full report? Download it here.