The 2022 In-House Compensation & Career Survey

June 30, 2022


The 2022 In-House Counsel Compensation & Career Survey results are in! Now in its seventh wave, the report, conducted in partnership with the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association (CCCA), provides the most up-to-date and robust analysis of in-house counsel in Canada. The survey was conducted between January 25, 2022 to March 3, 2022, shortly after the peak of the Omicron variant.


According to the report, national average base salary increased significantly but the gender wage gap has widened. Equal pay for racialized and disabled lawyers is still a challenge; natural resources, mining, and forestry remains the highest paying industry; and satisfaction with work-life balance decreased during the pandemic.


Key findings included:


Gender wage gap increases


The results showed that women continue to be paid less than men in the same roles in the legal profession. In 2022, female in-house counsel report an average base salary $24,000 less than male in-house counsel, a steep rise compared to the $19,000 reported in 2020 (pre-pandemic).


The most substantial gaps continue to be seen at higher wage levels with 42% of males receiving a mean salary of over $200,000 compared to 19% of females who earn the same amount.


Equal pay for racialized and disabled lawyers remains a challenge


This was the second year additional information was collected on compensation for racialized and non-racialized lawyers. Just under one-quarter (22%) of the group identify as racialized lawyers and report a mean salary $8,000 below that reported by non-racialized lawyers, a $4,000 decrease from 2020.


Results also showed persons with disabilities report a mean salary $17,500 less than non-disabled persons, a slightly reduced gap ($1,500) from 2020. Workplace appears to be a factor in this finding – most lawyers with disabilities work in government or not-for-profit sectors, which report lower mean base salaries.


National average base salary increases are significant


The results show that national average base salary stands at $180,000, which is noticeably higher compared to the $167,500 reported in 2020. Ontario respondents report average base salaries above the national average. British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec are close to the average, while Central and Atlantic Canada lag behind the national average.


This year, the highest average base salaries are found in the resources/mining/forestry ($233K); retail/hospitality, food and beverage, consumer products ($212K); and manufacturing/automotive/aerospace/chemical ($206K) industries. Among the top twelve industries, there were no notable down shifts.


Covid-19 pandemic decreased satisfaction with work-life balance


The 2022 results showed that 65% of in-house counsel are very/somewhat satisfied with work-life balance, a near 10% decrease from 2020’s pre-pandemic score of 74%. Most respondents expressed a decline in mental health and wellbeing due to the pandemic.


Lack of career mobility a key factor in job dissatisfaction


The top reasons for job dissatisfaction revolve around lack of career mobility within their current organization. A bigger compensation package remains the number one motivator for in-house counsel to consider leaving their current employer. The second strongest motivator is a promotion.


Future outlook


Sixty-five percent of respondents were very/somewhat optimistic about the future of their organization’s legal department, a very consistent number across the most recent three surveys; however, a smaller proportion (56%) are optimistic about their own future within their current organization. Moving forward into 2022, 65% predict that they will be using a hybrid work model.


About the Survey


The 2022 In-House Counsel Compensation & Career Survey was commissioned by The Counsel Network in partnership with The Canadian Corporate Counsel Association (CCCA). This is the seventh wave of this research, with previous studies conducted in 2020, 2018, 2016, 2012, 2010 and 2009. The survey was conducted by Bramm Research between January 25, 2022 to March 3, 2022, shortly after the peak of the Omicron variant. The 1,009 respondents represented a good mix of in-house counsel from all major cities across Canada and included a variety of sectors and titles.


The report has become a go-to resource for in-house counsel and HR professionals seeking reliable compensation data for the Canadian in-house counsel market. Sixty-three percent of this year’s survey respondents named the survey as a key source of information for industry compensation. The survey provides key information on compensation, benefits, work hours, and job satisfaction for in-house counsel.




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


Dal Bhathal, Managing Partner

416.364.6654 / 604.643.1708

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