CONTRACT and permanent legal jobs will increase in the year ahead, but Hays Legal warns professionals not to expect big salary increases during this period.
According to the 2015 Hays Salary Guide, 22 per cent of legal professionals can expect a salary increase of three per cent or more in their next review. However the vast majority (65 per cent) will receive an increase of less than three per cent.
The Hays Salary Guide includes salary and recruiting trends for over 1,000 roles in 14 locations in Australia and New Zealand and is based on a survey of 2,610 organisations, representing almost 2.9 million employees.
"As a group, these employers have a positive outlook, with 36 per cent expecting to increase permanent headcount and 68 per cent expecting business activity to rise," says Darren Buchanan, Director of Hays Legal.
"Positive private practice demand, an improving in-house market and the growth of contract roles are key trends to watch out for in Australia's legal jobs market over the coming year."
He adds that the profession is seeing strong candidate demand in many areas, especially in private practice across property, construction, banking and finance and mergers and acquisitions.
Firms also continue to seek talented partners with existing practices as well as up and coming lawyers with post admission experience.
"Given demand, it's unsurprising that 27 per cent of employers reported increased staff turnover," says Buchanan.
"The willingness of candidates to change jobs and of employers to expand their permanent and contract legal headcount reflects employer confidence.
"While salaries will remain stable during this period, long-term we will start to see a broader pickup in salaries.
The Hays Salary Guide found that 17 per cent of employers did not increase salaries in their last review.
Like the previous financial year, those who did receive a salary increase in 2014-15 found that their wallet was not that much heavier.
Fifty six per cent of employers increased salaries by less than 3 per cent, while 22 per cent gave increases between 3 and 6 per cent. Just 5 per cent of employers gave increases of 6 per cent or more.
Looking ahead, 65 per cent of employers intend to increase salaries in their next review by less than 3 per cent. A further 19 per cent will boost salaries between 3 and 6 per cent, while just 3 per cent will increase by 6 per cent or more.
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