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Employers are enticing staff to stay with pay increases of up to 15 per cent for professionals with sought-after skills. Briana Everett reports.The 2011/2012 Michael Page International Salary…

Employers are enticing staff to stay with pay increases of up to 15 per cent for professionals with sought-after skills. Briana Everett reports.

The 2011/2012 Michael Page International Salary & Employment Forecast reveals that employers within the legal sector intend to increase salaries, on average, by around three to four per cent in an effort to retain staff.

According to the annual survey of more than 1400 employers, recruitment activity across the country has been buoyed by the resources boom and the resulting two-speed economy.

"The extent of hiring activity in NSW and Victoria is positive, although not as buoyant in comparison with Western Australia and Queensland," states the report.

"Most companies are reviewing salary levels as part of their retention strategy and the vast majority will be giving their employees pay increases over the next 12 months."

The research reveals that opportunities in the legal sector continue to grow as more companies expand the size of their in-house teams.

"The highest demand is for skilled professionals who can manage business investments in property and construction projects, particularly with growing sector activity in Victoria," said the report.

"There is also a strong requirement for project finance lawyers with sales, leasing and acquisitions experience who are responsible for the management of large-scale commercial projects."

Additionally, the report confirms that energy and resources lawyers are still highly sought after.

In-house lawyers with skill sets in high demand can expect to receive increases of between 10 and 15 per cent, and top performers in law firms may be awarded increases of between four and eight per cent.

Hiring activity is expected to continue at a steady pace across all levels of the legal sector over the next 12 months. "The highest demand will be for skilled professionals with experience in project management and dispute resolution, particularly as business activity rises in the property and construction sectors," stated the report. "There will also be a continued requirement for in-house senior construction lawyers with strong transactional experience, as well as junior to mid-level professionals with public-private partnership experience."

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