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The Bonus Boom of 2022: Insights into the Post-Pandemic Legal World

Written by: Evie Courtier
Published on: 8 Aug 2022

TotallyLegal Salary Survey

At the start of the year, TotallyLegal, the UK’s leading job board for legal professionals, set out to gauge how the post-pandemic landscape has shaped the legal employment market. Around 1,200 legal professionals, from PAs to General Counsel and Partners were surveyed to highlight the key discoveries of the legal professions. Despite disrupted working structures, resulting in a new norm of hybrid working, cutbacks on salaries and bonuses seem like a thing of the past. So, what does the year 2022 have to offer?  

Issues Highlighted within the Report:  

  • Salary Insights: by job title, practice area, type of company, education level and location  

  • The Gender Pay Gap 

  • Diversity and Inclusion 

  • The All-Important Work Life Balance  

  • Job security in a post-pandemic landscape  

Key Findings:  

A candidate-led market saw companies investing in retaining employees, through pay increases and other financial incentives. Both senior and junior roles have been rewarded for their resilience during this period of restoration, with 47% of respondents receiving a bonus and 54% seeing an increase in salary. Those in a junior legal role have been the real winners of 2022, with graduates receiving a 66% average salary increase.  

There are still notable pay discrepancies between male and female employees prevailing in specific job titles with equal pay across all practice areas presenting itself as a definite uphill battle. Nonetheless, wage gaps were far greater in 2021, with six practice areas reaching over 70% pay difference. This year, by comparison, the largest pay gap was 51%, illustrating a positive shift. 

It’s safe to say that the pandemic has had a significant impact on companies and employees alike, so it’s refreshing to see that as well as bonuses booming, internal morale is steadying. 67% of our audience state that they feel secure in their current role, with 73% declaring that the pandemic hasn’t stopped them from actively applying for a new opportunity, demonstrating newfound confidence in the job market. Alongside this, work-life balance is improving, with those not doing overtime increasing from 5% to 27%. Average hours of work ebbs and flows, yet 59% of respondents reported no change in their average hours. 

As ever, a high standard of education prevails throughout the TotallyLegal audience, with 81% holding a Bachelor’s degree or above, and 61% reporting 3 or more years (PQE). Despite the experience levels of the TotallyLegal audience, this year has seen a boost in newly qualified legal professionals utilizing the site. Those working in their role for 4-6 years have also increased by 6%, illustrating that legal professionals are more committed to their current employer, following a period of uncertainty. With the average salary for those working In-House rewarding a year-on-year increase of 8%, it's no surprise that just under half of the respondents (45%) are choosing to specialise In-House.  

With the legal recruitment landscape in flux and slowly emerging from the chapter of uncertainty, it’s reassuring to see a positive shift in bonus and salary increases, a surge of new talent accessing TotallyLegal, and a positive outlook for job security.  

Delve into more detail, stats and findings; download our 2022 report.  

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