90% of legal employers intend boost salaries, report reveals

Skills shortage is a significant factor in employers sweetening the pot

90% of legal employers intend boost salaries, report reveals

A whopping 90% of legal employers intend to boost legal salaries following their next reviews, the FY22-23 Hays Salary Guide has revealed.

This figure marks a significant increase from 2021’s 73%. According to 69% of the employers that participated in the survey, skills shortage was a driving factor in bolstering planned salary offers.

“Already 88% [of employers] are experiencing a skills shortage. 79% say it will impact the effective operation or growth plans of their organisation,” Hays Legal managing director Darren Buchanan said. “This is fuelling a once-in-a-career market. Previously camouflaged by skilled migration, and further impacted by headcount growth, skills shortages have reached a level unmatched in our years in recruitment and sparked deliberate salary increases from employers.”

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The report revealed that 57% of the legal professionals surveyed have grown bolder in asking for raises. Competitive salaries have become the main reason professionals seek out new jobs, beating out lack of opportunities for advancement and unfavourable management or company culture.

Solicitors and paralegals focusing on the fields of commercial property and insurance/personal injury are sought after, as are lawyers skilled in commercial, family and corporate law. The heightened confidence of professionals has led them to indicate that their performance levels and the demand for their skillset should lead to pay increases of more than 3%.

Indeed, 34% of employers plan to boost salaries by over 3%, although 56% still intend to keep the increase below this percentage.

“While both the value and extent of salary increases is rising, employees’ expectations are growing faster. In a job-rich, candidate-poor market, they feel more assured of their worth and have prioritised a pay rise,” Buchanan said. “We suggest that today’s skills shortage presents an opportunity to define a new equation in the world of work. Salary increase budgets only extend so far, so consider the full value exchange for each role. Along with salary, consider benefits, upskilling, career progression, purpose, and the relationship employers have with their employees.”

Employers have sweetened the pot further with enhanced benefits and working policies after professionals indicated that the three most important benefits to them are more than 20 days of annual leave, coverage of professional membership fees and formal career paths. A total of 67% of employers also revealed plans to beef up permanent staff numbers over the 2022-2023 financial year.


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