Hays Salary 2016

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by Mark Abernethy

Construction activity in many parts of Australia along with a generally healthy economy has not increased lawyers’ salaries, according to the 2016 Hays Salary Guide.

“Salaries haven’t moved much from last year,” says the report, “and we don’t foresee this happening in the year ahead.”

The report notes some areas of activity, notably Sydney’s construction-infrastructure boom and WA’s demand for insolvency and industrial-workplace lawyers. However the report says lawyers’ salaries have been flat during the year.

A Sydney lawyer at a Top Tier firm, with 4-5 years experience, can expect salary of $120,000 or $125,000 in Perth and $115,000 in Melbourne and Brisbane, or $110,000 in Adelaide and Canberra.

With six years and more experience, a top tier lawyer can expect $170,000 in Sydney and $140,000 in Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, while in Perth you can earn $150,000 and Canberra, $135,000.

Equity partners in top tier firms in Sydney can start at $750,000, compared to Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth ($500k+), and Canberra ($350k+).

In a mid tier firm, with 4-5 years experience, a Perth lawyer can expect to earn $115,000 compared to Sydney ($110k), Melbourne ($105k) and Brisbane ($100k). Mid-tier equity partners range from $300,000 in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth to $250,000 in Canberra and Adelaide.

In small practices, 4-5 years experience earns you $100,000 in Sydney, Perth ($95k), Brisbane and Canberra ($90k), Melbourne ($80k) and Adelaide ($75k). A small firm equity partner in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, all start at $250,000.

Hays says, “Salaries remain steady but we are seeing more bonuses used to try and retain staff.”