Salary bunching: the unspoken effect of the City talent war

As ‘flashy’ NQ charges proceed to soar, a current Authorized Cheek open thread uncovered the ‘abysmal’ affiliate wage bands in place at some UK regulation corporations

The current spate of newly certified (NQ) solicitor pay rises has given rise to so-called “salary bunching” at some UK regulation corporations, whereby the distinction in remuneration is moderately negligible additional up the affiliate ranks.

This was the key takeaway from an open thread we shared final month in an try and make clear lawyer salaries past trainee and NQ degree.

Sourcing this data just isn’t straightforward (we’ve tried) and shortly goes out of date, so we handed the baton to our readers, many of whom work for UK regulation corporations, to share their insider information.

One UK-headquartered agency is alleged to be paying £95,000 at NQ degree, £96,000 at 1PQE (post-qualified expertise), £98,000 at 2PQE and £101,000 at 3PQE. “That bunching is abysmal”, wrote one nameless commenter, with one other saying it was the cause why they made a lateral transfer to a US agency, the place the monetary rewards are considerably increased and the hours, kind of the similar.

“It’s so obviously all about the flashy NQ salaries to get people in the door,” mentioned one Authorized Cheek reader. “After that, who cares?”

Our readers do, clearly. The thread drew in over 250 feedback and counting, and makes for insightful studying.

The pay construction at one other UK agency is supposedly somewhat extra beneficiant and recorded in the thread as follows: £95,000 at NQ, £97,500 at 1PQE, £100,000 at 2PQE and circa £105,000 at 3PQE. At one other agency paying out the similar £95,000 NQ determine, they’re mentioned to be even increased: £98,000 at 1PQE, £101,000 at 2PQE and £106,000 at 3PQE. Having data as such might assist coaching contract supply holders of their decision-making.

Our commenters have supplied the lowdown on a number of different corporations, together with the magic and silver circle and people in the areas, however notice that these figures are as of but unverified.

Different attention-grabbing issues the open thread highlighted:

• Affiliate pay can range in keeping with apply space, with these in busy transactional groups similar to company or finance extensively accepted to be at the increased finish of wage bands but additionally, goal hours.

• The salaries at some corporations will be mounted for associates of about one to a few years PQE, after which there’s banding and pay is set based mostly on efficiency, however that is in no way a tough and quick rule.

• Lateral hires being paid decrease than home-grown talent and in a single occasion, a 3PQE lateral paid the similar as a 1PQE affiliate.

• The various bonus schemes in place at UK corporations.

So the place can we go from right here? Maybe we’ll see a UK regulation agency go on the report with a full breakdown of what they pay associates from NQ to at the very least 3PQE, main the manner for different corporations to reveal their figures. However don’t maintain your breath.

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