New Zealand Law Society - Survey shows salary increase expectations

Survey shows salary increase expectations

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Just under three-quarters (73%) of respondents to the New Zealand Law Society Hays Legal Salary Survey 2015 expect that their base salary will increase in 2015.

The February survey was sent to lawyers employed in law firms and in-house and achieved a high 30% response rate.

Of the respondents, 72% had received an increase in their base salary in 2014. The most common increase in 2014 was in the range from 1% to 3%, and an even higher proportion expecting to receive an increase in this range in 2015.

The survey also showed that July is the month when the highest proportion of salary reviews take place. Of those who responded, 13% said their organisation did not conduct an annual salary review.

The salary detail collected by the survey shows that based on national average salaries, working in-house for a corporate employer or working in a large law firm are the most highly-remunerated areas of employment for a New Zealand lawyer.

The survey showed some wide variations between the lowest and highest salaries for lawyers by location, size of employer, and years post-qualifying experience (PQE). For example, Christchurch lawyers in medium-sized law firms with six years’ PQE were paid between $58,000 and $90,000 per year, with the average salary being $85,000. Over all of New Zealand, the range was $50,000 to $130,000 with an average of $80,000.

It is clear that a number of factors, including experience, areas of expertise, time with the firm, number of other lawyers and location all have an important bearing on annual salary. The objective of the New Zealand Law Society Hays Legal Salary Survey 2015 is to provide some solid – and free – data on indicative salaries paid to New Zealand lawyers.

One thing which is important to remember is that the survey covers lawyers who are not partners or directors in law firms.

The survey itself provides a comprehensive range of information by years’ experience and size and nature of employer. Data is provided for Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and also the rest of the North Island and the rest of the South Island. Where the number of respondents was too small for creation of reliable information, it has been excluded.

The full results along with survey-generated information on recruitment and employment trends are available at

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