This month’s focus is on salary, remuneration and benefits which for the majority of us is a key career consideration – after all the bills don’t pay themselves!
With the end of the financial year upon us and annual performance review season underway this is particularly topical.
This month: Consider your salary & benefits this year end
Salaries are a very personal and variable thing. In the East Anglia/ Essex region NQs start on wages between late twenties up to around forty thousand pounds per annum. Thereafter wages rise according to a large number of conditions and factors. Some firms are transparent in what it takes to get a salary increase, some are more guarded.
As a general rule of thumb, in the first 5 years of your career your salary will tend to rise each year, thereafter it is more likely to level out. The trajectory depends largely on the work that you win yourself and the work that you bring into the firm for others. Once you are over 5 years PQE you will, in the main, be expected to be building a portfolio of your own clients and your own work.
The majority of law firms in the region follow the rule that you should be billing around 3 to 4 times your salary. Anything over this, certainly once you reach over the 4 times salary or more bracket, you can feel confident starting a salary discussion within your annual review. Remember to be commercially aware of the overall performance of your firm and market trends when doing so.
Bonuses are not generally a significant part of the remuneration packages paid in the region. Defined bonus schemes are still the exception rather than the rule, compared to the London market where bonuses are common place, often clearly defined and treated as salary. If you are entrepreneurial and confident of your client following then there are various firms who are happy to negotiate a ‘keep what you kill’ arrangement. This gives you greater control over what you earn as you take a percentage of the work billed as opposed to a set salary, but carries its own risk if performance is not achieved. The expectation is that you will bring your own work in with you, and/or build your own client base.
Benefits are certainly getting better in the region (although the provision of a parking space remains the Holy Grail!), with many firms offering more than the statutory pension schemes, death in service/ life assurance, medical insurance/ healthcare, child care vouchers etc. Only five years ago benefits packages were not even a consideration for many law firms – now not just the larger firms offer them.
Remember that discussions around remuneration are a two-way process. Commercially it needs to make sense for your firm. There may be other factors which hold real value for you including flexible working patterns and overall work-life balance.
If you would like a third party, independent view of your situation do get in touch.