City of London law firms are now the UK’s highest-paying employers of graduates, 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.
Graduate salaries paid by leading UK law firms are now on par with salaries paid to graduates working in investment banking, and significantly higher than salaries paid to graduates working in other high-paying sectors, such as technology and consulting, research shows.
Law firms paid their graduates an average salary of £50,000 a year, according to High Fliers figures, putting them on par with investment banks (£50,000) and ahead of consultants (47,500 £), oil companies (£40,000) and banking and finance. businesses (£38,000).
High Fliers research shows that New York law firm White & Case offers the most generous salaries of any UK graduate employer, paying its graduates whopping salaries of £52,000 a year.
Prestigious UK law firms Magic Circle, including Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy, Freshfields, Slaughter & May and Linklaters, followed closely, offering graduates £50,000 a year.
Meanwhile, major U.S. 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 by offering £50,000 to graduates.
The legal industry’s top tier position comes as law firms face fierce competition to recruit and retain legal talent.
According to research from High Fliers, average graduate salaries are set to rise for the first time in eight years in 2022, to highs of £32,000 a year, up from £30,000 a year in 2021. The figures come as Graduate salaries have stagnated 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 £29,000 a year in 2012 to £38,200 today.
High wages paid by employers such as Aldi (£44,000) pushed the average wages paid to graduates in the retail sector to £36,800, putting industry ahead of the armed forces (£33,000), technology (£32,000), accountancy (£32,000) and the consumer goods sector (£32,000), as one of the highest paying graduate employers in the UK.
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.
High Fliers research also shows the number of graduate job openings jumped 9.4% from 2020-21, amid a rebound in the graduate job market following a substantial reduction the number of vacancies in 2020.
High Fliers said the number of graduate jobs is expected to rise another 15.7% this year, as it predicts the accounting industry is expected to be the biggest 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 new graduates this year than there were in 2019 and higher starting salaries for graduates too.