UK Corporates & Commercial Salary Guide and Market Report 2019

Sarah Ingwersen Birmingham

Market Overview
Taylor Root’s in-house team has experienced an encouraging increase in new instructions in Q1 of 2019 for legal jobs, up 11% compared with the same time last year. Despite the current UK economic climate (and Brexit uncertainty), the legal in-house market is extremely buoyant and showing no signs of a slow-down. The new year is often when new budgets for additional headcount kick in, which brings the ​opportunity to grow or reshape legal teams. Here is a quick snapshot of the Corporate & Commercial in-house legal recruitment market:


  • In-house legal roles within the technology sector (particularly disruptive companies) are in high abundance, as are technology roles across all sectors. We have seen a sharp increase in technology companies recruiting their first lawyer, particularly US companies looking to have a presence in the UK or EMEA.
  • There is very high demand for 2-6 years’ PQE commercial lawyers across all sectors – meaning the market is increasingly candidate short, due to market competition
  • Salaries are becoming even more competitive, with good candidates often receiving multiple offers; Clients need to be more receptive to this and respond quickly to secure the best talent


  • There has been a marked increase in the demand for corporate/M&A lawyers across a number of sectors
  • Clients are more readily open to day rate consultants rather than fixed-term contract arrangements
  • Interim candidates tend to be more at the more senior end but are more often-than-not happy to take on junior roles on a part time basis, if clients are willing to consider this
  • There has been an increase in instructions for contracts manager roles as an alternative to qualified paralegals and lawyers as companies look for cost-effective options to increase resources

General points of observation

  • Important factors for lawyers when considering a career move include career progression, improvement on salary and benefits and the quality of work. However, lawyers are increasingly considering non-tangible benefits such as agility and flexibility (especially working from home), working environment/culture and a company’s socialpurpose
  • Retention is becoming more difficult due to increased availability of positions in the market and certain skill sets being constantly in demand
  • Companies are having to respond quickly to CV submissions and interview feedback to ensure they can secure the best candidates quickly. Clients who delay on CV or interview feedback (even by a matter of days in the case of interim candidates) are finding that they are missing out on top talent

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