The firm’s latest figures, dated 31 May 2014, show that while 17% of partners globally are female, this figure drops to 7% in Europe and the Middle East. In contrast 22% of UK partners are women, with this figure rising to 28% in Asia.
The percentage of female partners in Europe has fallen from the same point in 2012, when women accounted for 9% of partners in Europe outside London and the Middle East and 24% in the UK. Linklaters has not confirmed details of its 2013 diversity stats.
A Linklaters spokesperson said: “In making improved diversity one of our global priorities we are fully aware that the improvements needed in some markets are greater than others. The firm is implementing a comprehensive set of global initiatives designed to tackle the issue and we’ve recently introduced some aspirational targets to help us achieve our objectives.
“We are already making great progress in attracting, retaining and developing some of the finest talent in the profession and clearly we want to see that progress replicated across the board.”
The news comes as similar statistics from magic circle peer Allen & Overy (A&O) show its global female partner count dipped marginally over the last year, despite a firmwide target to increase female representation in the partnership to 20% by 2020.
Women made up 16% of A&O’s global partnership at 31 May 2013, compared with 15% on the same date this year. In the London office, women accounted for 17% of partners in 2014.
A spokesperson for A&O said: “While it is a marginal drop, it’s clearly not the direction we would like to see things going. We continue to work with partners and staff across the network to identify ideas and actions that will help us get to 20% (and higher in those office which already exceed that total), some of which we will be launching internally in the coming months.”
A&O’s diversity figures also showed that in London 4% of partners work part time, while 8% are from an ethnic minority group. A further 2% declined to disclose their ethnicity and there are no records for a further 4%.
In 2013 24 A&O partners and 100 associates participated in the initiative to increase the number of women in the partnership to 20% over the next six years, dubbed “20:20”.
The proportion of employees under 30 has increased by 2% to account for 30% of staff worldwide, with those aged between 40 and 49 rising by a similar percentage to 23%. The tally of those aged between 30 and 39 has decreased from 42% to 38%.
At Linklaters, 44% of associates across all offices are female, along with 47% of junior associates. The firm also released statistics covering sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin, faith, social mobility and flexible working, as well as figures relating to graduate recruitment during 2013.
Linklaters is targeting 30% female membership of its executive committee and international board by 2018, and aiming for women to make up 30% of new partners from next year’s promotions round.
Elite rival Slaughter and May is expected to publish its diversity information in the coming weeks, while data from Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is set to be released in the autumn.