Our 2023 salary research has revealed that salaries for lawyers who moved firms last year increased by three times as much as those for lawyers who stayed loyal to their firms.
As part of our annual state-of-the-market survey, we found that legal professionals who moved jobs in the last year achieved an average pay increase of 15%. In comparison, 37% of those who stayed at their firm received a pay rise of less than 5%, while 18% didn’t receive a pay rise at all. This data is supported by our survey of law firms, which found that 85% of firms increased pay by 5-10% this year.
A pay rise was the number one reason lawyers moved firms last year, with 56% of those who had taken on a new opportunity saying a pay rise was the trigger for them exploring the job market.
However, 64% of lawyers believe they are paid fairly. This figure has nearly doubled compared to 2022, suggesting that inflated costs have encouraged lawyers to aim to increase their earnings, despite some already earning close to the market rate for their level of PQE.
We have recently published the results of our salary research in full along with recommendations for law firms in our Salary Guide for 2023.
The 338 survey respondents were based primarily across the North West of England, Yorkshire and the Midlands, and included solicitors of all levels of post-qualified experience as well as non-qualified lawyers.
Kelly Reid, Associate Director and specialist in the recruitment of private client lawyers comments:
“It’s clear that in today’s tight market, in which just one in ten lawyers are actively looking to move roles (ranging from those who are interviewing with several firms to those who have simply set up a job alert on a job board), firms are willing to do what it takes to secure the best talent. With high inflation and cost of living, more and more lawyers are keen to boost their earnings and those who explore new opportunities will have a better chance of doing so.”
“While it’s true that firms should focus on securing new talent to grow sustainably and profitably, they mustn’t neglect their existing staff. A solid retention strategy involving regular pay reviews and salary benchmarking, but also a strong Employer Value Proposition more generally, is key if firms are to keep their best people.”