Compensation and human resources

Associate compensation trends

The past year has seen accelerated increases in like-for-like associate pay levels among the sample of firms surveyed, with the average annual increase of 6% standing far above the 3% average recorded in last year’s survey.  Increases were typically more pronounced at the junior end of the seniority scale.

Provided that associates meet performance targets, they will typically advance up a seniority level in lockstep compensation grids annually.  The average annual salary increase for an associate advancing up a level on a lockstep grid in Germany during the first seven years of practice is 6%.

Headcount growth trends

The past 12 months have seen significant growth in the headcount of both fee-earners and support staff among the German operations of many of the law firms surveyed. In some cases this growth can be attributed to firms having opened additional German offices, but there are wider indications that many of the international law firms surveyed have been busy increasing firepower in their German offices as a direct result of last year’s Brexit referendum and the United Kingdom’s increasingly uncertain position in the single market.

Total staff headcount

  • Percentage of firms that increased total staff headcount during the past year: 62%
  • Median percentage growth in total headcount (among firms that grew): +42%
  • Mean net percentage total headcount change (among all firms): +27%
  • Median net percentage total headcount change (among all firms): +15%

Fee-earner headcount

  • Percentage of firms that increased fee-earner headcount during the past year: 77%
  • Median percentage growth in fee-earner headcount (among firms that grew): +33%
  • Mean net percentage fee-earner headcount change (among all firms): +34%
  • Median net percentage fee-earner headcount change (among all firms): +15%

Support staff headcount

  • Percentage of firms that increased support staff headcount during the past year: 62%
  • Median percentage growth in support staff headcount (among firms that grew): +34%
  • Mean net percentage support staff headcount change (among all firms): +18%
  • Median net percentage support staff headcount change (among all firms): +8%

The above article contains extracts from the Germany 2017 Legal Market Intelligence reportThe full version of this report contains further data, including detailed compensation, benefit and billing rate benchmarking tables for all levels of fee-earners and business support staff.  For further details and pricing contact Gwilym Davies at gdavies@GlobeBMG.com or on +44 (0) 20 7940 6858.