EU enlargement could push down salaries

May 05 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Salaries for skilled staff in law, banking and accountancy in the UK could be pushed down by the availability of cheaper staff from the ten new EU member states.

Figures from City law firm Lawrence Graham show that solicitors in the Czech Republic, for example, earn just over a fifth of their British counterparts, and they predict that this cheaper labour from Eastern Europe could undercut more expensive UK professionals.

But they added that stronger competition for jobs amongst City solicitors would lead to a higher quality of professionalism, a better service for the client and lower costs.

"Its possible long-term effect would be downward pressure on wages. But it all works out better for the client," said Lawrence Graham's Anthony Woolich.

Lawrence Graham partner, Yvonne Gallagher, added that many Eastern European professionals are "fluent in English, have comparable training and expertise, and yet work more flexibly for much lower salaries".