WHILE AUSTRALIAN FIRMS have been shaking off a conservatism in their recruitment strategies over recent months, determined not to be caught out in a candidate short market, salaries this year were not commensurate with the limited supply of talented lawyers.
A newly released Mahlab Recruitment salary survey of the legal profession reveals that the demand for candidates has outstripped supply in a range of practice areas. According to Alex Neskes, Mahlab’s manager, private practice and Nicola Phillips, senior consultant at Mahlab, the demand in private practice cannot be met in this candidate short market.
Firms and corporate employers attempted to recruit quality lawyers over the past year in an effort to manage increased workloads and fill those vacancies created by their lawyers exploring alternative career options. However, Neskes said, the limited supply of quality lawyers did not result in high salary increases.
Private practice salaries rose by an average of 8 per cent nationally, the survey reports. Sydney saw salary increases of about 7 per cent, attributed mostly to mid-tier firms, where pay increases ranged from between 5 per cent and 15 per cent.
In Melbourne, the increases averaged 8.3 per cent, and firms in Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane stayed close to their Melbourne and Sydney counterparts, both offering salaries that competed with those offered on the eastern seaboard.