08 February 2017

European GCs still lagging in pay and prestige, finds latest ACC survey

General counsel at companies in Europe are making less and being given less managerial responsibilities than their colleagues across the Atlantic.

By Kathryn Higgins

Anton Balazh

The annual Chief Legal Officer Survey 2017 from the Association of Corporate Counsel has found that general counsel and chief legal officers in Europe are substantially more likely than their colleagues in the United States of Canada to be taking home less than $150,000 per year in total compensation. And the difference in compensation appears to be more than skin deep. European GCs and CLOs were also less likely than their North American counterparts to describe themselves as a member of their company’s executive leadership team. Only 60 per cent of European legal leaders claimed this mantle, compared with an overwhelming 85 per cent in the United States.

Of the 82 Europe-based legal chiefs included in the ACC survey, 40 per cent reported that their annual total compensation was below $150,000 per year. By comparison, only 16 per cent of US-based respondents and 14 per cent of those in Canada were taking home less than this amount each year. At the other end of the spectrum, GCs in Europe where the least likely group to receive total compensation greater than $600,000 per year – only 9 per cent said their compensation was in this bracket, compared with 10 per cent in Australia and New Zealand, 11 per cent in Canada, 14 per cent in the Asia Pacific and 15 per cent in the United States.

Worldwide, 79 per cent of surveyed GCs reported being part of their company’s executive leadership team. However, this figure slumped to 60 per cent for respondents based at companies in Europe – only those in the Asia Pacific were less likely to be on the executive leadership team. Conversely, those based in the Middle East and Africa and the United States were substantially more likely to count themselves among their company’s executive leadership, at 86 per cent and 85 per cent respectively. Job satisfaction also spiked for GCs in this category, with 71 per cent of GCs who hold executive leadership roles saying they were satisfied or very satisfied in their current role, compared with 56 per cent of those who don’t hold such roles.

For the full ACC annual report, click here

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