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UK legal salaries rising faster than other professions

Increases in contract rates outpacing permanent salaries 

18 March 2013

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

Salaries in the legal sector are rising faster than those in other professions in the UK, according to a recent salary survey.

It found that contract rates for legal professionals are up 3.5 per cent year on year, while permanent legal salaries have increased by 1.2 per cent in the same period.

By comparison, permanent salaries for banking operations professionals are up 0.7 per cent and IT specialists have had a salary increase of 0.3 per cent.

In the accountancy sector, salaries are down 0.1 per cent. HR professionals have experienced the highest reduction in salaries at 0.7 per cent.

Similarly, contract rates have increased 0.4 per cent for accountants, remained stable for banking operations professionals and decreased 1.2 per cent for both IT and HR specialists.

The salary survey was conducted by recruitment consultancy Robert Walters. Its findings are based on the difference between the average salary figures for each of the roles it has worked on from January 2012 to January 2013.

The survey found that the largest increases in permanent salaries have been evident in the Midlands, where they have risen 2.1 per cent. The comparable figure for London is 1.1 per cent. By contrast, contract rates in London are up 3.8 per cent and remain stable in the Midlands.

Most of the growth in legal salaries was driven by the in-house market. London in-house permanent salaries are up 1.7 per cent year-on-year (compared to 0.2 per cent in private practice), while contract rates are up 3.5 per cent (compared to 0.4 per cent in private practice).

The increases in in-house contract pay are particularly marked in the banking and financial services sector, where they have risen by 8.5 per cent over the past year.

Commenting on the survey findings, Colin Loth, director of legal recruitment at Robert Walters, said: “Where headcount restrictions have been implemented, businesses have often not had the expertise to carry out certain projects.

“Rather than outsourcing to a private practice firm, many have hired contractors to carry out this specialist work. With this likely to remain the case, we expect demand for temporary and fixed term contract lawyers to continue to grow throughout the first half of 2013.”


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