General counsel salaries continue to lag inflation

In-house heads of legal are facing real-terms pay cuts for the second year running as salary increases lag behind inflation.

According to figures published by employment researcher IDS, in-house heads of legal have seen their salaries increase by an average of 2.5 per cent in the last year with average compensation standing at £132,310.

However, with the retail prices index (RPI) currently running at 5.2 per cent the figure represents a decrease in income in real terms.

Bonuses generally remained static for in-house lawyers with only heads of legal reporting an increase in bonus payments. Just under two-fifths (39.5 per cent) of those surveyed said that their bonuses this year were higher compared to last year, while 35.2 per cent maintained that their bonuses were lower.

Further research found that only 6 per cent of companies surveyed mentioned difficulty in recruiting in-house lawyers.

IDS head of research Nasreen Rahm concluded that the low figure reflected a low rate of hiring with only four of the companies surveyed actively looking to hire in-house lawyers.

“This might also reflect the fact that there is a surplus of applicants for in-house legal jobs as more lawyers decide to leave law firms in favour of going in-house,” Rahm added.