Gravity - what's stopping NQ Solicitors from floating off?

Posted in Blog on 21 Feb 2016

You may have seen our recent article about trainee Solicitor salaries that was featured in the Law Gazette, Lawyer and by Legal Cheek.     

18 months after the mandatory minimum was scrapped almost a third of all trainee solicitors are being paid under the Law Society’s recommended salary, according to research we carried out when putting together our 2016 Salary and Benefits Benchmarker.

The Law Society has recommended a minimum salary of £20,276 in London and £18,183 outside of the capital. 31% of trainees are now being paid below these thresholds. The North West of England is a hot spot with 51% of trainees being paid below the recommended salary where as in the South West only 12% fall into the same category. 20% of London based trainees are paid below the recommended salary. 60% of trainees working in general practice are paid below the minimum suggested by the Law Society. Thankfully though only 2% of trainees are on a salary that is on or around the equivalent of the minimum wage.

The article provoked some lively online comment but we all know that when it comes to making a career move then it is never going to be just about the money. Although we discovered that 1 in 3 trainees were being paid below the Law Society minimum our research also tells us that just under 50% believed they were being paid below market average for their role with another 46% stating their salary was in line with the market.     

According to our data 1 in 3 of the legal profession is looking to move jobs in 2016 with nearly a quarter citing progression and professional development as the main motivator. The data for trainee Solicitors tells us a similar story - 28% of trainees on the home straight to qualification are likely to be moving jobs in the next 6 months. So nearly three quarters of all trainees on the cusp of qualification are going be sticking around for the next 6 months at least. Furthermore levels of job satisfaction in trainees are at 60% which also on a par with the profession. It’s important because legal professionals expressing some level of dissatisfaction in their role are 8 times more likely to change jobs in the next 6 months.

Movement is coming however. That’s because 89% of the current crop of trainees have partner aspirations but only 27% of them believe they can achieve that in their current firm. It therefore stands to reason that somewhere down the line the current crop of trainees will have to change employer to find something more closely aligned to their own career objectives and aspirations. When that happens you could do worse than contact one of the team at Douglas Scott, a regulated, multi-award winning legal recruitment specialist with over 10 years’ experience recruiting in your sector. Career minded candidates want to know about the whole of the employer proposition and this is why, according to our research, 41% of legal professionals engaged with a recruitment consultant last time they changed jobs. And it makes sense to get a national and international perspective. Although 23% of trainees relocated for their training contract a massive 71% of NQ’s are prepared to relocate for the right job and 47% would consider opportunities outside the UK.   

Andrew Fieldhouse is a nationwide touchpoint for Trainee Solicitors. You can contact him on 0203 846 3071 or by email          

Share this post