A new study from Barker Gilmore confirms that female lawyers in legal departments, particularly female GCs, are still underpaid compared to their male counterparts. On average, female in-house counsel earn 84 per cent of what male in-house counsel earn. The gap is much larger at the general counsel level, with a 78 per cent disparity, than at managing counsel or senior counsel levels, which show 90 per cent and 89 per cent disparities respectively. Despite the disparity in total compensation, in 2018, female in-house counsel experienced a base pay increase equivalent to that of male in-house counsel of 3.8 per cent.
The median annual salary increase rate for all positions across industries dipped to 3.8 per cent, down 0.5 per cent from the previous year. Financial, energy, and industrial & manufacturing industries experienced base increases in line with the previous year, while consumer, healthcare, technology and professional services saw smaller increases overall. In terms of peer comparison, 41 per cent of all respondents believe their compensation is below or significantly below that of their peers in other organizations, with labour & employment lawyers and litigators reporting the greatest dissatisfaction. Those in the energy and banking/finance practice areas express the highest levels of satisfaction with over 24 per cent reporting compensation above or significantly above average.
Meanwhile, 41 per cent of respondents indicate that they would consider a new position within the next year due to compensation issues. Those in the consumer industry report the greatest likelihood of a job search in the next year, while those in the energy industry are the least likely. In-house counsel with practice area concentrations in intellectual property, labor and employment, and litigation are most likely to consider a move for compensation issues, while those who identify with a generalist practice area report least likely to move.