Results of the 2016 In-House Counsel Compensation & Career Survey

  • April 11, 2016

OTTAWA – The Counsel Network and the Canadian Bar Association’s (CBA) Canadian Corporate Counsel Association (CCCA) provided advance viewing of the findings of the 2016 In-House Counsel Compensation & Career Survey on April 5, 2016 at the CCCA National Conference in Calgary. The full results are available today.

Conducted by Bramm Research, the survey shows the average salary for in-house counsel has increased, and more respondents say they have had no or a smaller salary increase in the past year than in 2012 when the last survey was released.

The results of the survey further indicate that female in-house counsel are earning 15% less than their male in-house counterparts. For in-house counsel, the gender wage gap is real and it is not shrinking.

This wage gap cannot be fully explained by the assertion that ‘men have been in the workforce longer’ as men have fewer average years as both Legal Counsel and Senior Counsel and still earn a higher base salary.

In all sectors, except Government where females have wage parity, men earn a higher salary than women.

“We are very concerned about the gender gap in compensation,” says FrĂ©dĂ©ric PĂ©rodeau, Chair of CCCA. While expressing disappointment with the results, FrĂ©dĂ©ric PĂ©rodeau notes that the CCCA has been a leader in diversity and inclusion.

“We will be focusing our attention on how and what we can do to help address this imbalance,” adds Mr. PĂ©rodeau.

Heather Innes, Past Chair of CCCA, echoes his concern. “These results show we need to remain focused and vigilant. We have undertaken many initiatives over the years, and will continue to do so in the future as we strive to achieve equity.”

Industry Trends

The average salary for all in-house counsel surveyed is $165,000, an increase from $155,000 in 2012. In 2016, the average base salaries for in-house counsel in all publicly-quoted and privately-owned companies are higher than those of Government or Crown corporation in-house counsel.

By industry, four sectors of in-house counsel have the highest average base salaries: resources/mining/forestry, real estate, oil and gas, and retail/hospitality.

The most substantial downward shifts in annual base salaries were in the sectors of IT, media/gaming/entertainment, and utilities.

Future Outlook

The majority of in-house counsel report increases in the size of their legal departments as opposed to decreases. However, there is some decline in the percentage of those saying that they are ‘very optimistic’ about the future of their organization’s legal department and their professional future with the organization. Several segments are leading this decline including in-house counsel for Government and those residing in Alberta and Quebec.

About the Survey

This is the fourth edition of the In-House Counsel Compensation & Career Survey. The research was conducted by Bramm Research between February 2, 2016 and February 28, 2016. The 962 respondents represent a good mix of in-house counsel from all major cities across Canada and include a variety of sectors and titles. The survey provides key information on compensation, benefits, work hours, and job satisfaction for Canadian in-house counsel.

About The Counsel Network

The Counsel Network is Canada’s premier legal recruitment and talent management company.  It was the first lawyer recruitment firm in Canada and has proved to be an innovator and leader in the global legal market. More than 25 years later, our practice and functional expertise in law department growth, law firm mergers, practice group development, and strategic partnering continue to be great assets to our clients. Our robust knowledge of our clients and their strategic, business and financial goals allows us to provide advisory and talent management services, including retention, succession planning, compensation models, business development, and coaching, all of which complement our traditional recruitment services.

About the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association

An integral group within the 36,000-member Canadian Bar Association, the CCCA is dedicated to supporting and enhancing the interests of Canadian corporate counsel. CCCA provides uniquely Canadian perspectives, resources, tools, professional development, conferences, and peer-to-peer networking opportunities.

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For further information, or to receive a copy of the survey report, please contact:

Dal Bhathal, Managing Partner
The Counsel Network O: 416-364-6654
C: 416-710-7558