Legal salaries are expected to increase by three to five per cent, according to the annual Hays Salary Guide released last week.
Signalling an optimistic year ahead for the legal industry, the Hays Salary Guide says salaries are holding steady with increases on the horizon.
According to the report, hiring intentions are up, with 45 per cent of employers expected to increase their permanent headcount overall, compared to only 21 per cent last year.
Also this year, 22 per cent of employers intend to increase their use of temporary staff, compared to 14 per cent last year.
"The Hays Salary Guide shows that for the most part salaries remained constant during the past year. Employers had more control of salaries and candidates were more focused on job security than salary," said director of Hays Legal, Darren Buchanan.
"But by late 2009 the market significantly improved and demand for lawyers increased across the board. Today, quality candidates are in a much stronger position than they were one year ago. From top tier to small firms, private practice as well as in-house and government, all are recruiting again," he said. "Add the new optimism that is evident in the market and employers' own prediction that their recruiting needs will rise and we have a very different picture to this time last year.
"As a result we expect salaries to increase by around three to five per cent moving forward. Those lawyers whose salaries have been stagnant for a long period of time are likely to receive a larger salary increase."
Despite the expected increase in salaries, Buchanan warned jobseekers not to expect an automatic increase.
"We still advise jobseekers to focus on finding a role that will add to your suite of skills and offer an opportunity with the right organisation. Don't price yourself out of contention with over-inflated salary expectations.
"If you are realistic in your expectations, show how you can add value and take the advice of a recruiting expert, a salary increase is likely to follow over the coming year in line with the market's recovery and renewed optimism," he said.
The Hays Salary Guide is available at www.hays.com.au/salary