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1 in 5 small law firm employees miss out on pay rise

The Institute of Legal Finance and Management (ILFM) Annual Salary Survey for legal accountancy professionals has been published, and reveals that employee loyalty within smaller law firms is not paying off. The survey reports that 20% fewer employees of small law firms are receiving pay rises than employees in medium to large law firms.


The survey was undertaken in conjunction with Balance Recruitment, and exposes the clear disparity in pay conditions between large and small firms, with 78% of employees in medium to large law firms reporting receiving a pay rise, compared to just 59% of those in smaller law firms.


Tim Kidd, ILFM chief executive, commented, “The aim of the salary survey is to provide an accurate salary range for the different roles that make up an accounts team within law firms across the country. We do this to support our members, and ensure they are demanding the right level of pay for their position.


“The most interesting finding this year is the difference in pay conditions between the large and small law firms. We think the disparity is perhaps partly reflective of the higher rate of staff turnover at larger firms, where employers more frequently find themselves having to attract experienced staff in a highly competitive jobs market.  


“That said, the report reveals that the small firms have much better staff retention levels (89 percent in small firms and 81 percent in large firms), so maybe stability is more important than a higher salary today.” 


The report also revealed that salary figures have shown a slight decrease for certain positions in comparison with last year, however salaries largely continue to be on the rise on a like-for-like basis, as evidenced by the data around pay increases.


The proportion of overall respondents who received a financial bonus also remained similar to last year, with a marginally drop from 46% down to 45%. 


Compared with last year there was a slight increase in actual staff turnover year on year, with 86% of staff remaining with the same employer during the previous 12 months, down from 88% in 2015. London again saw the highest level of movement with just 79% staying with the same employer, followed by Wales (86%), Central & Northern Regions (90%) and the South (91%). 


Director of Balance Recruitment, Richard Hooper, said, “Legal finance professionals are such a vital component of every law firm – without them, properties couldn’t be bought and sold, and compensation wouldn’t be paid, just to name a few important financial transactions.


“Each year we support ILFM in creating the Salary Survey Report as a way of recognising employees in the legal finance sector, and ensuring they are able to measure if they are being remunerated appropriately for the work that they do.”


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