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Salaries still up despite economy down

Salaries still up despite economy down

Salaries are still on the increase in the Sydney legal market despite the economic downturn, according to a global salary survey. The survey undertaken by global recruiters Robert Walters…

Salaries are still on the increase in the Sydney legal market despite the economic downturn, according to a global salary survey.

The survey undertaken by global recruiters Robert Walters revealed that the market for recruitment at the start of 2009 is vastly different to how it started in 2008. There was s significant shift mid-year in the requirements for a successful candidate in line with the changing market conditions.

In the Sydney legal space, Robert Walters found that the second half of 2008 saw vacancies around financial services, alongside an increased demand for lawyers with experience in commercial litigation, insolvency, employment and insurance.

But even in areas of demand, Robert Walters reported a slowdown in vacancies by the end of 2008. Salaries, however, did continue to rise.

From a private practice salary perspective, the survey found that special counsel positions are particularly seeing a spike in salaries. In the top-tier firms, average salaries for special counsels rose from $160k+ in 2008 to $180k+ in 2009. While in mid-tier firms, special counsel salaries grew from $145k+ in 2008 to $160k+ in 2009

This year, Robert Walters said that lawyers can expect to see the sign-off on increased headcounts to take longer to approve as the market continues get more competitive.

Still, the recruitment market in general locally is not suffering anywhere near as much as it is overseas.

"The Australian recruitment market has slowed but not as severely as many overseas markets such as the UK, continental Europe and the USA," said James Nicholson, managing director of Robert Walters.

The Sydney aspect of the salary survey formed part of broader research into a number of different industries across the globe.

For the full report, see next week's edition of Lawyers Weekly.

- Angela Priestley

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