Survey reveals stagnant salaries for Emea counsel

A survey of general counsel salaries across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, (Emea) has shocked industry insiders by revealing stagnation in salaries in most countries.

The survey of more than 4,000 legal professionals working in multinational companies across 18 Emea countries showed that London-based general counsels were still the highest paid.

Naveen Tuli, a partner at recruiter Laurence Simons, which conducted the survey, said: “When we started this we expected it to show salaries on the increase, but it’s actually shown them levelling out, and in some cases declining.

“I suspect this is the calm before the storm though,” added Tuli. “Law firms across the globe have been hiking their salaries, and that has an inevitable ripple effect.”

London general counsels in charge of departments of more than 31 lawyers had salaries starting at E310,000 (£212,000). The survey does not include US-based general counsels or legal departments.

Tuli said there had also been an increased demand to bring functions other than corporate M&A in-house for multinationals, including IP, competition and employment capacities.

The survey showed that in-house departments in Dubai, while remaining relatively small, were well remunerated, with general counsel salaries topping $230,000 (£123,000).

Switzerland, which has become the Emea corporate headquarters location of choice for a number of multinationals, was the surprise package for general counsel salaries. Colgate, textiles manufacturer PPG and pharmaceutical companies Ferring and Biogen are among those that have moved their Emea corporate headquarters to Switzerland in the past year. Consequently, the average salary for general counsels manning departments of 31
or more have skyrocketed from E220,000 (£150,000) to close to E300,000 (£205,000).

Russia, China and India were the other countries to show sizeable increases in in-house salaries, while Belgian, Dutch, French, German, Italian and Spanish salaries have remained the same or have fallen.