by Mark Abernethy
Salary levels for legal talent have been rising in New Zealand due to high levels of business activity and an expanding economy, according to the 2016 Hays Salary Survey.
In 2016 there is a shortage of qualified candidates in all areas, but particularly in corporate and commercial law, construction, banking and finance, mergers and acquisitions and general transactional work.
Experienced commercial property solicitors are in very high demand, particularly in Auckland.
Hays says the demand in New Zealand for litigation lawyers and commercial law professionals, is strong. The highest area of candidate demand remains for three to six year PQE.
“Overall, salary levels for legal talent have started to rise in line with the increasing demand for candidates although we still haven’t seen the same level of salary growth that we’ve observed in some other sectors.”
Despite the demand for talent many top firms remain rigid in their recruitment practices, with a preference for hiring candidates with experience in a firms of a similar size, says Hays.
“We have however seen a slightly reduced focus on academic qualifications with many firms now looking for a variety of skills and experience including commercial acumen,” says the report. “The extra-curricular experience candidates have acquired also play a role in selection.”