Putting in the hours

Posted in News on 19 Oct 2018

More legal professionals are working longer hours than ever before, according to findings from our annual Salary Survey.

Our Longest Day research, was released last week to coincide with the end of British summertime. It reveals that professionals are working on average 6.21 hours per week longer than their contracted hours - an increase on 2017’s average of five hours and 2016’s average of 5.76 hours and adding almost an entire day onto the working week.

The figures back the trend originally reported last year which highlighted a year-on-year increase in extra-contractual hours being worked each week by those in the legal profession.

In terms of location, those based in the South and the Midlands are most likely to make it home for dinner, with those in London most frequently found at their desks beyond 6pm.

Kathryn Riley, founder and Manager Director notes:

In a week in which we all gratefully claim an extra hour as the clocks go back, our Longest Day research offers valuable analysis to allow the legal industry to identify and understand potential ‘pain points’ that some firms may feel the need to address, specifically around work-life balance, time efficiency and workload.

As lawyers’ days continue to lengthen, remuneration hasn't directly followed suit, with 52% of those working longer than contracted hours receiving a pay rise in 2018 compared to 73% in 2017 and 68% in 2016. Looking beyond this, 37% of those working longer than their contracted hours cited that they are satisfied with their benefits package. This is the same as 2017 and up marginally from 34% in 2016.

Kathryn continues:

Against the changing world of work, benefits packages are becoming more comprehensive and competitive – in recent years, we've seen a rise in workplace wellbeing initiatives such as flexible working complementing more traditional benefits such as financial bonuses and above statutory holidays. It’s about striking the right balance and firms will do well to establish this.

Indeed, it appears many firms are already adopting this as alongside the increase in number of hours worked by lawyers - 63% of those working additional hours are happy in their work. This compares to 65% in 2017 and 62% in 2016. Meanwhile, this year’s data also suggests 58% of legal professionals working less than their contracted hours are happy, while 65% of those working their quota of hours are happy.

Kathryn notes:

The fact that there’s no negative correlation between hours worked and happiness is testimony to the passion of the industry. While few people relish the thought of additional hours in the office, a career in law is a labour of love and it’s brilliant to see that reflected both within our data and anecdotally across our network.

Salary Survey 2019

Results are now in – see where you fit in the legal landscape.


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