In-house salaries on the rise but southerners still get more

The majority of in-house salaries rose in the last financial year, according to new figures.

But the average salary for newly qualified in-house lawyers still varies by as much as £35,500 depending on region.

Earning potential for in-house lawyers with one to five years PQE is at its best in the southern Home Counties of Sussex, Kent, Surrey and Berkshire, where salaries average between £48,000 and £76,000, and its worst in Yorkshire, where they average between £40,500 to £55,000.

The north west, which topped the survey last year, is still doing well with NQs averaging between £43,500 to £67,500.

That compares with £42,000 and £60,000 in the northern Home Counties of Essex, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire and £42,000 to £58,000 in the Midlands.

The annual salary research, conducted by recruitment agency BCL Legal, found that salaries for in-house lawyers between six and 10 years PQE ranged between £56,500 and £129,000, with the southern Home Counties again paying the top salary and Yorkshire the lowest.

Director of BCL Legal and head of its in-house department, Mark Levine, said: “Back in 2009/10 it wasn’t the done thing to request a salary increase but people are becoming a bit more bullish in what their expectations are now.”

He added: “Some big companies have been recruiting in the north west and clients are aiming to up salaries and benefits packages to secure the best people. Areas that are seeing higher recruitment are also seeing higher salaries.”

Levine estimated that 60-70 per cent of in-house salaries increased this year, 20 per cent remained the same and 10 per cent decreased.

The survey also looked at bonuses and found that 96 per cent of respondents received an average of £17,745 in the southern home counties. The majority of in-housers in the north west (86 per cent) received £17,500.

The northern home counties and the Midlands received the highest average bonus of £18,000, with Yorkshire missing out again. Only 62 per cent of Yorkshire in-housers said they got a bonus, at an average of £17,250 last year.