Skip to main content

Salaries by post-qualification experience in the legal profession

Written by: Ethan Cumming
Published on: 10 May 2019

The annual TotallyLegal Audience Insight Report revealed a great deal of diversity in post-qualification experience (PQE) amongst our audience, as well as the average salaries for legal professionals at various stages in their careers.

The extremes of experience

The largest segments of our audience reported currently being either those who are newly qualified (32%) or, conversely, relative veterans at the other end of the spectrum with over a decade of post-qualification experience (28%).

Elsewhere, our audience are distributed fairly evenly across the 1-10 PQE brackets. 13% claimed to currently have 1-2 years of experience and 8% are currently at a level of 3-4 years.

In the mid to senior levels, 7% of our audience sit within each of the 5-6 and 7-8 brackets, while 5% have been working for 9-10 years since they qualified.

PQE levels in our audience

Options and opportunities

Just under two thirds (65%) of respondents claimed to have spent 3 years of less in their current role, indicating fluidity and relatively high levels of employment within the legal profession. This kind of job market favours candidates and has given our audience the opportunity to explore a range of opportunities.

Salaries by PQE

Reassuringly, salaries in the legal profession rise in line with post-qualification experience before taking a significant upturn at the 10+ PQE mark.

Respondents just starting out their post-qualification career reported average salaries of £31,567, climbing to £39,140 as professionals reach 1-2 years of PQE.

Those with 3-4 years of experience can expect to receive, on average, £45,278 per year – a salary that rises by an average of £17,000 at the 5-year mark to reach £62,083. This rise represents an increase of 8% – or £5,000 – since last year.

Annual salaries then increase by smaller increments to £66,391 at 7-8 PQE and £70,549 at 9-10 PQE before growing by over £14,000 to reach an average of £84,552 at the 10+ year mark.

Salaries by PQE level


The data gathered in our Audience Insight Report provides invaluable insight into the current climate within the legal profession.

With increased salaries at nearly every PQE level, a reassuring diversity in PQE levels amongst our audience and despite an uncertain economic climate, the profession currently appears to be one of opportunity, variety and reward.

Does your salary match up to your peers with the same level of experience as you? If not, it may be time to start planning your next move. Search and apply for the latest jobs on TotallyLegal today and upload your CV to our database to get headhunted by top industry recruiters.