Salaries are up by between 5 and 10 per cent on average for assistant solicitors this year, but there is an ever longer wait for partnership, according to a survey conducted by The Lawyer and recruitment firm Michael Page Legal.
The economic upturn has meant that almost every newly qualified solicitor in London or regional firms is now kept on or manages to find another job quickly, compared with around 30 per cent who were shed by firms a few years ago. Because the upturn follows a recession in which newly-qualifieds were not taken on, there is now a desperate shortage of one- to four-year-qualifieds, particularly in banking, corporate and property areas, the survey found.
That in turn has meant a hike in salaries for assistants. The situation is exacerbated by the increasing attraction of in-house work, with industry paying wages matching those of City firms.
But the increased earnings of partners means they are selective about making people up to partners, with assistants facing a minimum wait of six years.