Salaries for the newly qualified have soared in City law firms amid tough competition from well-established US law firms in the city. It would seem that the city’s most desired NQs have the hold over both US and UK firms alike, as the battle continues for the best talent.
Without pressure from US competition, salary growth in the city would have steadied at a 2% average increase - the average increase in salary is currently set at a whopping 6%. Are the price hikes simply a bribe for millennials who are less likely to tolerate a tougher working culture? It is very easy to offer top salaries whilst doing little to tackle historic toxic working cultures.
“Nearly half of all callers to LawCare’s helpline say they suffered from stress, depression or anxiety related to their job”
Nearly half of all callers to LawCare’s helpline say they suffered from stress, depression or anxiety related to their job. The stressful environment is heightened by a culture that doesn’t allow employees to voice their concerns. This is shown by the increase in junior lawyers bending or breaking regulatory roles rather than speaking out against this ruthless culture.
This will come as nothing new to our legal candidates, or to the legal industry as a whole. It is widely known that those in the field are continually put under stressful conditions, some of which cannot be avoided. However, when stress levels consistently exceed your ability to cope, law firms must take action through wellbeing efforts that challenge the existing structure, such as flexible working.
“When it comes to wellbeing, the legal profession comes last” – research continues to show that the legal industry has been slower to react to the emerging crisis in well-being, mental health, and addiction. There is a lack of basic awareness regarding the deeper implications that high-stress levels can have on your mental health. A starting point for many law firms would be increasing awareness, creating a culture where legal professionals can talk about the stresses they face.
Back to these price hikes then. Increases in salaries are largely a positive thing (believe it or not), we should only expect the job market to drive up salaries for harder work and international competition. diversity and inclusion specialists like Wells Tobias are very aware that little focus on people and their wellbeing leads to businesses suffering. Happy and engaged employees lead to better work performance and productivity, increasing company profits. It’s a win-win! The more profitable a company is, the better the prospects for employees: job stability, regular pay rises and better job amenities. A win-win-win, in fact!
Full internalisation of these facts and resulting structural changes is the best way to achieve sustainable growth and a happier workforce. Here at WT, that is music to our ears…