Average local authority salaries rose by just 3% in 2018 despite a 50% rise in vacancies, according to figures from Local Government Lawyer’s dedicated jobs board, Public Law Jobs.
Based on the 636 permanent vacancies advertised on the site in 2018 (up from 430 the previous year), average base salaries for in-house local government lawyers increased by 3%, leaving them at an average for qualified lawyers of between £39,290 - £44,320. For more senior ranks, advertised Principal Lawyer salaries actually fell slightly, on average, by more than 2% from £49,559 - £54,150 to £47,983 - £53,069 while Heads of Legal salaries dropped by around 1% to £68,548 - £74,491.
However, the proportion of roles offering some form of additional ‘market supplement’ – typically between £3000 and £5000 a year - grew strongly from 4% of advertised roles in 2017 to 12% in 2018.
Supplements were most likely to be offered by councils in the South-east of England, where 26% of job vacancies included an additional payment of some kind and London, where 16% of roles included an additional inducement.
By region, London lawyers enjoyed the highest salaries at between £43,666 - £49,090, but the differential between local government lawyers in the capital and those in the lowest-paid region - the East Midlands, where advertised salaries ranged from £35,687 to £40,791 - was only around 20%, while the average differential in property prices between the two regions is almost 250% (£194,000 v £475,000). Similarly. the differentials between the best and worst paid disciplines was only around 20% between the best-paid (housing lawyers at £41,686 - £46,409) and the lowest, those practising education law (£36,376 -£43,357).
A copy of the research can be found on the frontpage of Public Law Jobs at www.publiclawjobs.co.uk