find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Property lawyer - Melbourne
Category: Property Law | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Impressive client list, national firm · Well-led and high-performing team
View details
Senior family lawyer - Melbourne
Category: Family Law | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Outstanding national firm · High-calibre family law team
View details
Mind the gap

Mind the gap

Perth salaries are catching up on those in Sydney, but the east coast city is likely to be home to the highest-paid lawyers in Australia for a while yet, the latest salary surveys reveal.

The gap between salaries in Perth and Sydney is increasingly narrowing, but a law firm managing partner said he doesn’t believe salaries in the WA capital will surpass those of the Harbour City anytime soon.

“I don’t see salaries in Perth overtaking Sydney,” said Michael Lishman (pictured), Clifford Chance’s Perth managing partner. “Perth is an incredibly expensive place to live [and] a lot of the salary pressures have been driven by cost-of-living issues that have been more acute in Perth.”

A slowdown in the energy & resources market in the last 12 months has seen a decline in demand for lawyers in the Queensland and WA markets.

The Mahlab Recruitment Survey 2013 found the majority of recruitment this year has been in Melbourne and Sydney, which has been mostly replacement roles, and that only 51 per cent of firms have increased salary bands – that compares with 92.3 per cent increasing salary bands in 2011.

Lishman said his firm has allowed salary increases this year: “We have given raises to support staff and to lawyers; some are CPI related but we are also allowing people to move between bands.”

Hays’ Salary Guide estimated salaries for equity partners at large firms in Sydney to be above $750,000, with equity partner salaries in Perth and Melbourne estimated at above $500,000; the Mahlab survey estimated partner salaries at major Sydney firms to average out at $1.35 million, with average Perth salaries at $1.32 million and average Melbourne salaries $1.25 million.

Michael Page’s Salary and Employment Forecast for 2013/14 showed that only 60 per cent of employers planned to increase salaries for all employees in the next 12 months, with 55 per cent of those saying increases would vary according to performance.

“I think that over the next 12 months mining investment will stay strong in WA and Queensland, which will continue to grow, but my sense is NSW and Victoria will come out of the economic doldrums they’ve been in and there will be a bit of a bit of re-balancing of economic activity back to the east coast,” said Lishman.

In the in-house sector, things were a little less clear as to where had the highest salaries, with the Mahlab survey estimating general counsel salaries to be highest in Sydney, while the Hays guide estimated that Perth salaries for GCs are higher than those in Sydney.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Mind the gap
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Aug 23 2017
NT Law Society sounds alarm on mandatory sentencing
The Law Society Northern Territory has issued a warning over mandatory sentencing, saying it hasn’...
Aug 22 2017
Professionals unite in support of marriage equality
The presidents of representative bodies for solicitors, barristers and doctors in NSW have come toge...
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by Crowd & Co. The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, ev...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...