Since May 2019, the number of Solicitor positions advertised on the internet* has declined each month. For each of those months the decline has been getting bigger as a percentage compared to the previous year. Job ads for Solicitors in September 2019 were down by 11% compared to September 2018.

This is almost double the decline compared to the all-occupations category. 

September 2019 shows a stabilising of the decline. For solicitor positions it is no worse than the August year-on-year decline. For all-occupations there was still a decline of 6% in September 2019 compared to September 2018 although the decline was less than August 2019’s 8%.

In an employment market with declining demand for employees, it becomes even more important to have a plan on how to negotiate your salary when an opportunity is presented. 

Jason Elias of Elias Recruitment makes the following points:

Much like interviews, successful salary negotiation happens BEFORE any conversation. Being well prepared will make you a lot more successful.

Know industry ranges so that you know what is realistic for any given role. An excellent resource is the www.legalsalary.com.au website which is a real time database of actual salaries. Feel free to add yours and see a comparison. Glassdoor while not legally specific may have some useful information.

Always remember that it is a collaboration – not a fight.

Speak with your recruiter about what is realistic.

Hold off on discussing money until they’ve made a decision to hire you. Potential employers will always be looking to lock you down to a specific range early, and you will have more leverage when they’ve decided that you are the person they are most interested in.

Quantify your value – know the specifics around your billable hours, charge rates, along with major new clients that you might have won, or initiatives
that might have saved your firm significant amounts.

Scarcity and competition are your friend – make it clear that you are in demand and have some other opportunities. This helps the company bring their best offer to the table.
 
Negotiate outside of just salary – many companies might have some limitations around salary banding, but might be able to help with additional working hour flexibility, training allowances, position title, travel allowances, education allowances, additional annual leave, etc.

Work with your recruiter – a good recruiter as an intermediary can really help you succeed here. They’re able to have more difficult conversations tactfully on your behalf. It makes things cleaner having an independent third party but obviously they are keen to get the deal done.

Don’t haggle for the sake of it. I have seen too many people miss out on dream jobs for trivial amounts of a few dollars a day, particularly taking out tax and superannuation.

For more advice and tips from Jason Elias, download:

The Practical Guide To Finding Your Next Legal Job

 

*Source: Australian Government labour market statistics