Most firms will increase salaries by the end of 2010, according to the latest salary and employment forecast.
Improved market conditions are expected to generate a measured increase in salary levels across the legal profession, according to the latest Michael Page Legal Salary and Employment Forecast.
The employment forecast indicated that over half of companies surveyed intend to increase employee salaries in the next six months by between three and six per cent, while some firms are considering more significant increases to re-balance the shortfalls and freezes that took place during the economic downturn, evident in the private practice market in particular. Despite such increases, in-house salaries still remain higher when compared to the private practice market.
The employment outlook, according to the forecast, shows positive but measured jobs growth for the remainder of 2010 with 69 per cent of companies indicating their employee numbers will remain stable over the next six months.
With firms starting to struggle with under-resourcing issues, the forecast revealed that some top performers within the industry are now being offered new and even multiple opportunities as companies begin to expand their capabilities in strategic areas.
From a global perspective, some US and European investment banks have centralised components of their legal work in the Asian region and with market conditions continuing to improve, the forecast says offices in Sydney are now being used to support increased work volumes.
According to the forecast; "In general terms, companies are looking to secure well trained, skilled lawyers with two to six years of experience who can add value quickly in sectors such as insurance, litigation and regulation."
The forecast also predicts increasing opportunities for in-house senior associates in sectors such as IT, construction, infrastructure, compliance, regulatory and some banks. "In-house roles typically require about four to eight years experience, as companies prefer to secure experienced lawyers who can handle legal issues that would otherwise need to be outsourced," it said.