The City of London’s law firms are now the UK’s highest paying graduate employers, according to new figures from High Fliers, which show UK law firms have now matched investment banks in offering graduates average salaries of £50,000 a year.
The graduate salaries paid out by Britain’s major law firms are now on par with salaries paid out to graduates working in investment banking, and significantly ahead of the salaries paid out to graduates working in other high paying sectors, such as tech and consulting, the research shows.
Law firms paid their graduates average salaries of £50,000 a year, according to High Fliers figures, putting them on par with investment banks (£50,000) and ahead of consultancies (£47,500), oil firms (£40,000), and banking and finance companies (£38,000).
Research from High Fliers show that New York law firm White & Case offers the most generous salaries of any UK graduate employer, in paying its graduates huge salaries of £52,000 a year.
The UK’s prestigious Magic Circle law firms, including Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy, Freshfields, Slaughter & May, and Linklaters, followed closely behind in offering graduates £50,000 a year.
Meanwhile, America’s major law firms, including Los Angeles law firm Latham & Watkins and Chicago litigator Baker McKenzie, and Silver Circle litigator Herbert Smith Freehills also matched the Magic Circle in offering £50,000 to grads.
The legal sector’s top ranking position comes as law firms face fierce competition to recruit and retain legal talent.
According to High Fliers’ research, average graduate salaries are set to rise the first time in eight years in 2022, to heights of £32,000 a year, from £30,000 a year in 2021. The figures come as graduate salaries have remained stagnant since 2015.
High Fliers noted that if graduate salaries had kept pace with inflation over the past decade, average graduate salaries would have risen from rates of £29,000 a year in 2012, to £38,200 today.
High salaries paid out by employers such as Aldi (£44,000) pushed the average salaries paid out to graduates in the retail sector up to £36,800, putting the industry ahead of the armed forces (£33,000), tech (£32,000), accounting (£32,000), and the consumer goods sector (£32,000), as one of the UK’s top paying graduate employers.
On average, graduates working in the public sector received the lowest salaries of £23,100, behind those working in the engineering (£28,500) and media (£31,500) sectors.
The High Fliers research also shows that the number of graduate job offers jumped 9.4 per cent from 2020-2021, amid a bounce back in the graduate job market bounced following a substantial cut in the number of vacancies in 2020.
High Fliers said the number of graduate jobs is set to increase by a further 15.7 per cent this year, as it forecast that the accountancy sector is expected to be the largest recruiter of graduates.
Martin Birchall, managing director of High Fliers said: “It is very encouraging that the graduate job market has recovered so quickly from the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, with more entry-level vacancies available for this year’s new graduates than there were in 2019 and higher graduate starting salaries too.”