Legal Professionals Expecting a Pay Rise in 2016

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According to the latest Robert Walters Legal Pay and Bonus survey, the proportion of lawyers receiving a substantive pay rise has considerably increased. Over 85% of lawyers surveyed received a salary increase last year and nearly 50% of Midlands legal professionals are expecting to receive a salary increase in the year ahead. 

Figures from the survey suggest that the improving market has meant a rise in productivity, increasing overall market competition and the demand for the best legal talent in the Midlands.

Legal salaries on the rise

The results from the survey revealed that the majority of lawyers working in the Midlands last year received a salary increase, achieving a 22% increase since 2014. Of those working for large international law firms, an impressive 91% received a salary increase, however, those working for smaller regional law firms received the largest overall percentage increase in pay rise during the past 12 months.

"We've seen the proportion of lawyers receiving substantive pay rises across the last calendar rise considerably year-on-year with the figures suggesting this has been consistent across all profiles of firm," said Tom Pogmore, Manager - Legal Division, Birmingham.

Key trends in legal bonuses during 2015 

  • 61% of lawyers did not receive a bonus during 2015 
  • Compensation package is one of the biggest motivators for a job move during 2016
  • Professionals working for national law firms saw an 18% increase in bonuses received since 2014

More private practice firms have established defined bonus schemes in an effort to incentivise fee earners and also give greater as to the the potential total compensation you can earn within their business.

The survey  revealed that 32% of Midlands legal professionals ranked pay rise and compensation package as the main motivator for a job move. Interestingly, the survey also highlighted that 65% of those professionals who said they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied within their role did not receive a bonus during 2015, suggesting that bonus and compensation packages play a key role in retaining legal staff in the Midlands.

"The improved confidence in the market place is reflected in the responses as to the motivating factor for lawyers seeking a new move. In the preceding two years, career progression had been the main driver for making a move, whereas this year, improved salary and work life balance has moved up the priority list"

About the survey

The Robert Walters Midlands Legal Pay and Bonus Survey questioned professionals on a range of compensation questions, including their pay and bonus expectations, their career plans, and how long they intend to stay at their current firm. 

Download the full Midlands Private Pay and Bonus Survey.

For the third year running Robert Walters has conducted its annual Midlands Legal Pay and Bonus survey to help gather information on trends across the Midlands legal market in association with the Birmingham Solicitor's group – visit the Hiring Advice hub for a full list of Roberts Walters publications of recruitment in the UK.


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