Lawyers’ average salaries have risen more slowly than the national average since 2006 – but still outflank most other professions, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Analysis by recruitment firm Randstad Financial & Professional found salaries increased by 8.1% since the first full year before the credit crunch, compared with 11.4% nationally.

But lawyers’ pay has risen faster than that of accountants (7.5%), and insurance underwriters (0.6%). These increases are in stark contrast to the salaries of associate legal professionals, where average salaries are down 8.6% compared with six years ago.

Tara Ricks, managing director of Randstad, said different roles have seen salary inflation at a completely different pace.

‘At entry level, pay has remained relatively static as firms reduced their graduate intakes,’ she said. ‘The greater number of would-be legal and accountancy trainees competing for positions has meant a relatively flat playing field both for those entering and exiting training contracts.

‘But at the other end of the spectrum, the most qualified and experienced professionals are still in demand.’

Ricks added that surveys of legal professionals had found that security and not pay was the primary concern for jobseekers.

‘Despite negative discussions in recent years around remuneration in certain sectors, most notably financial services, salary is no longer the key driver when moving firms.

‘There has been an acceptance of compensation levels as a result of the prolonged and fluctuating fortunes of the financial and professional services sector,’ she said.