CORPORATE continues to account for the bulk of newly qualified jobs given to trainees, but is also losing ground to banking and finance.

Just under a fifth (19.4 per cent) of retained trainees qualified into corporate in 2006, compared with 21 per cent in 2005. Meanwhile, 17.5 per cent of qualifiers joined banking and finance departments, a rise from 16.9 per cent the previous year.

Spots in litigation and commercial also rose, with litigation now accounting for 14.5 per cent of all jobs and commercial 5.7 per cent.

The magic circle accounted for the bulk of the banking and finance jobs. Allen & Overy gave 28 trainees places in its finance department; Clifford Chance offered 31; Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer gave 14; and Linklaters offered 18.

DLA Piper retained the most trainees of any firm in the top 50. It offered jobs to 63 of its 80 qualifying trainees, of which 59 accepted places. Just behind was Eversheds, where 58 out of 60 trainees accepted jobs and 74 qualified. Eversheds gave more than a quarter (17) of its trainees jobs in the corporate department, in reflection of the firm’s strategy to grow corporate work.

All of the firms in the top 50 increased newly qualified salaries this year. Many City firms now offer £55,000, although this drops to £48,000 at firms such as Charles Russell and Hammonds. Salaries at regional firms in the top 50 start at Dundas & Wilson‘s £33,000; the average regional salary is around £35,000.

Just two firms in the top 50, Hill Dickinson and Shoosmiths, ask trainees to repay maintenance grants and other funding if they do not stay on after qualification. At Hill Dickinson, trainees have to repay their funding in full if they leave during their training contract, if they reject a place in the firm’s North West offices or if they leave a North West office within 12 months of qualification.