24 August 2016

Growing in-house salaries still falling short, survey finds

Many in-house counsel still feel the value of their work outweighs their pay packets, even though salaries are on the up.

By Kathryn Higgins

Ion Chiosea

A new compensation trends survey from BarkerGilmore has found that the average salary for in-house lawyers across all levels and industries climbed 4.2 per cent last year. Energy, health care and finance remain the three-highest paying industries for in-house lawyers across all position levels, though salaries grew more slowly in energy company legal departments than any other industry this year, increasing by just 2.4 per cent. Lawyers in the services industry enjoyed the strongest growth over the course of the year, with salaries lifting an average of 5.68 per cent across all levels.

Lingering dissatisfaction

Despite the upward trajectory of salaries, BarkerGilmore’s survey also revealed that 44 per cent of in-house lawyers remain dissatisfied with their remuneration package, believing their compensation to be below or significantly below that of their peers. Litigators and those in the services sector reported the highest level of dissatisfaction, but it was surprisingly the comparatively well-paid energy sector lawyers who were most likely to say they would consider new employment opportunities over the next 12 months due to issues with their current compensation. Overall, 40 per cent of in-house lawyers across all industries said that they will likely be looking out for new job opportunities in the next year, climbing to 50 per cent for lawyers in the energy sector.

Sources: Corporate Counsel; BarkerGilmore

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