Our salary surveys for 2014 have recently been collated and sent out to participating firms across the South of England to provide benchmarking assistance and support at salary review time. Around 60% of our surveyed clients conduct pay reviews between April and July, whilst a further third do so between September and November.
Salaries for 2013/14 in the South of England have continued to grow, seeing budgeted increases between 1.5% and 6%. Despite the large range, our report found that on average pay increase were between 2% and 3%.
Over the last year, we have seen an increasing focus on retention – especially in premium legal areas. Retention issues, coupled with an emphasis on performance-based pay and market correction, have seen some firms’ award pay rises of up to about 20% for specific fee-earners.
The focus is not completely on salaried financials; firms are increasingly interested in the ‘added extras’ offered to both current and prospective employees. Over the last few years, these ‘extras’ have been on the rise, and 2014 is no exception. Law firms have a huge variety of benefits they offer to employees; including the more typical medical and health insurance schemes, generous pension contributions and the option to buy or sell holidays. However, there is also a growing popularity of more atypical benefits such as dry cleaning services and restaurant discounts!
It is evident that the salary review remains a key aspect of a law firm’s financial year. There is building pressure on salaries; and law firms have an ongoing challenge to balance the books in an increasingly competitive market.