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In-House Counsel satisfied with work-life balance but diversity gaps remain

Date: August 14 2012

VANCOUVER, Aug. 14, 2012 /CNW/ - According to a survey released today by The Counsel Network and The Canadian Corporate Counsel Association (CCCA), the legal profession has a higher than average level of satisfaction with their work-life balance, but gaps remain both in gender equality and in ethnic diversity.

Lawyers satisfied with work-life balance

Despite 30% reporting increased work hours, 78% of respondents are somewhat or very satisfied with their work-life balance, a level that far exceeds that reported by the average Canadian employee1, and which is 6% higher than in 2010. The amount of satisfaction is greater (88%) among those under the age of 35 and among those who work fewer hours per week.

Gap narrows but women still paid less

The results indicate that, even when compared against men in the same roles in the profession, women continue to be paid less. While the gap has diminished from 19% in 2009 to 16% in 2012, this still represents a significant disparity in pay between the sexes.
"This year's survey provides some interesting insights into diversity among in-house counsel in Canadian business, " commented Sameera Sereda, Managing Partner, The Counsel Network. "While there is still a long way to go, we are encouraged to see a trend toward diminishing the gap between men's and women's salaries. "

Ethnic diversity remains a challenge

For the first time, this year's survey asked respondents to indicate their ethnicities. An overwhelming 84% of respondents were Caucasian. Only 6% of respondents were South Asian, 3% Chinese and 2% European. The remaining respondents indicated Canadian, Filipino, Black, West Asian, Arab and Latin American/Hispanic as their ethnicity. None of the respondents identified themselves as First Nations. Only 1% identified as Métis.
"The legal profession has identified the need to build its diversity, and this survey backs up that need with statistics," Sereda commented. "The Counsel Network is proud to see efforts being made to support diversity, such as the Legal Leaders for Diversity and Inclusiveness initiative launched last year."
Legal Leaders for Diversity and Inclusiveness consists of a group of more than 50 General Counsel who advocate for and promote diversity within the legal departments of some of Canada's leading organizations.

Wages vary significantly by region, industry

The survey, intended to benchmark various compensation-related measures of Canada's in-house counsel community, found that on average, in-house counsel earn approximately $155,000 per year. This represents an increase of $4,500 over 2010. However, wages in Alberta exceed the average by 6%, followed by Ontario, at 5%. Atlantic and Central Canada lag the rest of the nation, with salaries 23% and 20% below the national average.
Compensation also varies significantly by industry, with the IT sector paying the highest salaries ($184K) followed closely by oil & gas ($178K) and resources/mining/forestry ($171K). Telecom and Government/Crown Corporations pay the lowest salaries at $134K and $130K respectively.
Other notable findings from the 70-question survey include:
  • On average, in-house counsel earn approximately $155,000 per year, representing an increase of $4,500 since 2010
  • Salaries of in-house counsel in both the IT and manufacturing/automotive/aerospace industries increased by over $18,000 in the past two years, while salaries in Government, Crown Corporates and the telecommunications sector fell by $7,000 over the same period
  • In-house counsels work an average of 48.2 hours per week. Among metropolitan cities, counsel in Montreal work the longest hours (50.5) compared to Vancouver (47.3)
  • Nearly half (47%) of respondents see themselves in the same role in the coming two years
About the Survey
This third edition of the In-House Counsel Compensation & Career Survey was conducted by Ipsos Reid between May 8 and June 9, 2012. The 738 respondents were in-house counsel representatives of a wide variety of sectors, job roles and regions of Canada. Among the data collected were questions about compensation, diversity, job satisfaction and work-life balance.

About The Counsel Network

Established in 1988, The Counsel Network is Canada's oldest and most established lawyer recruitment firm with permanent offices in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. Recognized as Canada's leader in legal recruitment, The Counsel Network has a long term, strategic approach to advising law firms and corporations in the successful development of their legal teams. They provide market leadership in the area of legal recruitment; companies and law firms from across Canada and internationally turn to The Counsel Network to provide a framework for understanding and successfully recruiting lawyers in the legal market.

About The Canadian Corporate Counsel Association

CCCA provides a national voice and forum for corporate counsel to advance the development of their practice of law, professional skills and careers as corporate counsel. Established in 1988 and now more than 10,000 lawyers strong, the CCCA promotes a better understanding of and appreciation for the professional role and function of corporate counsel.
1 Ipsos Employee Representative Database (RED) survey indicates 61% are Somewhat or Very Satisfied

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