Recruiting general counsels might be tougher than ever before.
In-house legal chiefs may have seen their salaries increase by an average of 2.5 percent within the last year but the Retail Prices Index (RPI) is running above 5 percent, which marks a massive decline in salaries.
According to figures published by a UK employment research firm, Incomes Data Services (IDS), the average compensation for in-house lawyers remains at £132,310 ($203,386). The good news is the across-the-board improvement on last year’s pay increases, which were just 1.5 percent.
Newcomers with little or no experience or mid-level lawyers can cash in as low as £43,720, while a deputy general counsel’s average salary comes in at £91,410. In the US, meanwhile, in-house salaries can fall anywhere between $75,000 and $200,000.
The study goes on to highlight that general counsels working for the public sector and not-for-profit organizations were the least likely to see pay increases, with an astounding 56 percent of employers in this category freezing pay for their lawyers this year.
The predictions on bonuses, however, remain clouded and static, as only heads of the legal department reported an increase in their bonus payments.
One emerging problem associated with the real-term pay cuts is recruiting. According to the survey, roughly 6 percent of those polled mentioned difficulties in recruiting in-house lawyers and one firm complained about retention issues. ‘When looking at recruitment in the in-house legal market, these low figures are in part a reflection of the low rate of hiring. Only four of the companies we surveyed said that they were looking to employ in-house lawyers,’ says Nasreen Rahman, principal researcher at IDS.
‘This might also reflect the fact that there is a surplus of applicants for in-house legal jobs as more lawyers decide to leave legal firms in favor of going in-house.’
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