Majority of legal workers expect a pay rise within next year, study finds

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By Aishah Hussain on

One fifth feel confident in securing a promotion despite coronavirus effect on economy

The majority of legal workers expect a pay rise within the next year, while a fifth feel confident in securing a promotion in the same timeframe, a new study has found.

Eighty percent of those working in the legal profession expect a salary increase from their employer in the next 12 months, jobs site CV-Library revealed this week. This comes despite the country plunging into recession due to COVID-19.

The percentage is the highest of any profession surveyed and well above the national average; where 41% of UK professionals anticipate a pay rise.

Further, 20% of legal professionals feel confident in securing a promotion in the next 12 months. This is slightly higher than the national average of 19%.

A total of 1,100 UK professionals took part in the survey which looked at their perceptions of where their career will head over the next year.

The data shows that workers in finance, electronics and property are next most likely to expect an increase in pay, with each sector scoring the same 67%. Medical professionals came next with 65% expecting a salary hike, followed by marketing (60%), catering (57%), IT (55%), education (51%) and social care (50%).

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The legal press has been inundated with reports of law firms freezing or reducing lawyer and support staff salaries in recent weeks and months as a result of the uncertain financial climate brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Yet, the job board’s data shows that workers in the legal sector may be correct in expecting a pay rise, as salaries increased by about 12% month-on-month in July. Kennedys bucked the COVID-19 cutback trend and announced this week that it will go ahead with salary increases for all staff from November. The firm had paused pay reviews for fee-earners and business services staff due for this year.

Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library, said:

“It’s understandable that legal professionals are looking to regain some of their lost income in the coming months, particularly if they’ve been placed on furlough. While not directly hit by the lockdown, the legal profession will have taken some blows over the last few months as the UK justice system closed down and clients were forced to tighten their belts. This may mean that fewer firms are able to offer an increase in pay.”

The findings further found that of the legal professionals surveyed that are currently unemployed, nine out of ten are confident that they’ll secure a new role in the next three to six months. “The data clearly shows that legal professionals have a great deal of confidence in the job market,” Biggins added.

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