Findings from Totum’s Business Services Reward Survey 2023 show law firms competing hard on salaries, bonuses and benefits to secure the best business skills and capabilities from both within the professional services sector and beyond.

The Finance function in the legal sector leads the way in terms of salaries, particularly at the most senior Director and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) level. But other business services functions are not far behind in the salary stakes, according to Totum’s Business Services Reward Survey 2023.

Alongside a rising number of Chief Operating Officers (COOs) and CFOs, the survey shows more Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs), Chief People Officers (CPOs) and Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) making up the C-suite across modern business services functions. Not only do these titles themselves reflect the growing importance of business services professionals to today’s law firms, but their salaries, bonuses and benefits, detailed in the survey, showcase the full potential for career development and growth across business services teams.

These are just a few of our findings from Totum’s Business Services Reward Survey, a comprehensive research project looking into reward strategies and structures in business services functions across the legal sector. The survey, which covered salaries, bonuses, benefits, cost-of-living payments, and more, was conducted by Totum in partnership with leading legal and professional services sector consultancy, Lamp House Strategy.

Survey scope

Firms that participated in this year’s survey included 13 of the UK top-20 firms and almost half of the UK top 50, with the findings spanning 500,000 data points, 13,000 roles, and 10 functions: Finance; General Operations; Knowledge Management; Legal Operations; Transformation and Innovation; BD and Marketing; People and HR; Real Estate and Facilities; Responsible Business; Risk and Compliance; and Technology.

The findings also spanned titles across an array of disciplines, including many that are relatively new to business services functions in the legal sector – for example, marketing technology and systems, content management, digital marketing, reward and compensation, legal project management, innovation, change and transformation, ESG and sustainability, diversity equity and inclusivity.

‘We felt it was a particularly interesting time to conduct this research,’ says Tim Skipper, Founding Director at Totum. ‘The past two years has seen a considerable increase in salaries of business services staff at all levels. This has reflected both the importance now for firms to have the best available people across all functions as well as a talent shortage. We are also pleased to now be capturing data in a wide range of new and emerging functions and it will be interesting to see how these salaries settle into a market norm as more and more firms invest in them.’

Process and outcomes

In the last weeks of 2022, each participating firm shared comprehensive salary and staffing data for different job bands and roles within business services functions. They also completed an online survey providing more qualitative insight and context into reward and recruitment/retention strategies. Participants went on to receive a detailed dashboard of roles and salary/bonus levels, an in-depth report including a full analysis of survey responses, and an invite to follow-up webinars to discuss findings.

We provided participants with information not just on the figures themselves, but also on what they tell us about changing market trends and aspects of business services currently standing out for particular investment. The aim throughout was to share knowledge to support decision-making around compensation structures, as well as reveal deeper market shifts that may influence recruitment and retention strategies in the future.

Looking ahead

This year’s Reward Survey is the first in what will be an annual research project, enabling us to provide year-on-year comparisons and ever-deeper insights into the development of business services roles and teams.

Lisa Hart Shepherd, CEO at Lamp House Strategy, said: ‘We believe Totum’s in-depth knowledge of its clients and the recruitment market – coupled with Lamp House Strategy’s expertise and track-record in delivering data-led insights – have combined to provide a valuable product that has been missing from the market. Our ambition is to keep developing this product… to expand the coverage, provide more granular insights and make it easier for firms to take part. We hope to have your support and participation next year.’

If you would be interested in participating in the next Totum Business Services Reward Survey, contact [email protected]. We will be delighted to share further information and details of how to sign up.