Paralegal Salary Guide and Career Outlook

Paralegals see a pay of $45,271 in the United States and AU$54,427 in Australia. The comparison paralegal salary in South Africa and India are right around $8,000 US dollars. In the United Kingdom, these professionals see a salary of E18,604.

A paralegal career is rapidly changing as globalization, and other factors impact areas such as pay, benefits, and valued skills. In this article, we will go over the average salary and salary bands for seven countries. In addition, differences by experience, industry, and benefits are likewise explored.

woman making a paralegal salary

How Much Does a Paralegal Make per Year by Country?

Paralegals earn a modest salary regardless of country. The data below is from Payscale. The estimated pay is based on a 40 hour work week.

Paralegal Salary US Canada UK Australia New Zealand India South Africa
Hourly Pay $17.00
  1. 00 ($14.49)
C$19.00 ($9.58) E9.00 ($18.75) AU$25.00 ($14.27) Rs 248.08* ($3.64) R55.54* ($4.11)
Annual Pay $45,271 C$50,225 ($38,301) E18,604 ($19,801) AU$54,427($40,822) NZ$47,500 ($33,885) Rs 516,025 (7,574) R115,541 ($8,549)

* This amount is estimated based on the annual pay.

Paralegal Salary Influencing Factors

Paralegals and legal assistants perform similar tasks regardless of the country they work in. However, their pay looks different depending on where they work. Payscale provides information for all of the countries. In New Zealand, the information was found under the title of legal assistant.

1. Location

How Much Does a Paralegal Make in the US?

The paralegal salary in the United States ranges from $31,08- for the 10th percentile and $67,652 for the 90th percentile. A yearly bonus from $200 to $5,102, a commission of up to $12,225, and profit sharing of up to $6,937 can add to this base salary. The hourly rate is $12.13 to $26.68 with an overtime rate of $19.49 to $47.32. Their full salary is $29,140 to $66,534.

How Much Does a Paralegal Make in Canada?

The hourly rate for paralegals in Canada has a range of C$13.30 to C$32.29 with an overtime rate of C$17.45 to C$53.34. The annual salary is C$33,829 to C$69,546 dollars. The bonus, profit share, and commission are C$5,167, C$3,000, and C$10,000, respectively. The total take home pay is C$31,592 to C$70,891.

How Much Does a Paralegal Make in the UK?

Paralegals in the United Kingdom earn between E13,668 to E26,788. A small bonus of E3,050 is reported by some individuals. Their hourly wage is E6.50 to E20.13 with overtime possible up to E50.15. The complete pay for this position is E13,702 to E27,887.

How Much Does a Paralegal Make in Australia?

Paralegals who work in Australia will see an hourly rate of AU$19.29 to AU$31.71. Those who get overtime may earn up to AU$40.44. The yearly salary is AU$39,770 to AU$72,480. Some professionals may earn a bonus up to AU$5,000 dollars. Considering the base pay and additional sources of income, the total salary is AU$39,925 to AU$72,278.

How Much Does a Paralegal Make in New Zealand?

A New Zealand paralegal salary fluctuates between NZ$30,521 and NZ$64,229. A marginal bonus of NZ$500 may be received. The hourly rate is NZ$14.86 to NZ$39.12. When looking at the total salary, it is NZ$30,969 to NZ$64,059 dollars.

How Much Does a Paralegal Make in India?

The range of income for a paralegal in India is Rs 209,874 to Rs 757,359. A bonus of Rs 50,000 can be earned. The estimated hourly income is Rs 100.90 to Rs 364.11. The total reported salary is the same as the base salary for the 10th percentile of earners at Rs 209,874 while the 90th percentile report total earnings of Rs 824,336.

How Much Does a Paralegal Make in South Africa?

Paralegals in South Africa will see pay rates between R48,313 and R309,096. A bonus of R20.27 to R29,590 has been reported. Profit shares of R2,000 can be received. The estimated hourly income is R23.22 to R148.60. An income of R49,315 to R327,183 is received by these professionals.

2. Experience

The paralegal salary changes based on the amount of experience they have in the profession. Entry-level paralegals in New Zealand, Canada, the United States, and South Africa have a starting wage at least 15% below the median. In the United Kingdom, novice paralegals start slightly below the average at 3%. The growth for mid-career paralegals sees wages anywhere from 8% above the median in the United States to 40% above the median in South Africa.

One interesting trend is seen in the United Kingdom where there is an insignificant increase in income from mid-career to late-career paralegals. The salary increases are consistent across countries except in South Africa. There is an extreme jump from 40% above the income for mid-career to 105% above the income for experienced paralegals.

3. Industry

In the United States, there are around 280,000 paralegals. The vast majority of these professionals will work for legal services. Other paralegals work for varying levels of government from local to federal and for finance and insurance companies.

The highest paying industries for paralegals employ less than 0.2% of the total workforce. These industries are semiconductor manufacturing, software publishing, commercial equipment wholesale, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and aerospace manufacturing.

Two trends that are impacting the global nature of legal work are legal process outsourcing and globalization. Outsourcing uses distributed vendors to reduce cost, increase efficiency, and expand working hours. Globalization creates international firms and the eradication of traditional geographic boundaries.

Schedule & Working Hours

Paralegals are often at the hands of the law firms they work for. It is typical that they work more than 40 hours a week, especially when there is a large trial or many clients. The normal schedule is typical office hours. Overtime pay is available in the case of working additional hours.

Some paralegals have flexibility in the hours they set, but most of the time they are expected to be available as needed. This is especially true if the attorney is unavailable. Paralegals who serve in a consulting role and work for many different law firms will naturally have a different schedule.

Bonuses & Benefits

A major benefit of being a paralegal is that the median salary is high relative to the time spent to earn the necessary degree. Paralegals have the opportunity to progress in their career path and continue their education as they are practicing in the field.

Paralegals can explore a variety of fields to work in and different work environments. In addition, due to the numerous job opportunities, they can be self-employed or work for more than one law firm.

They will have different benefits depending on their place of work. One benefit, beyond a paralegal salary that differs significantly based on place of employment, is the health care benefits. The table below shows health care benefits by country.

Country United States Canada United Kingdom Australia New Zealand India South Africa
Medical 65 68 28 1 27 25 32
Dental 44 63 9 13 6
Vision 34 44 18 9
None 33 29 60 99 73 75 65

Career Outlook

The job growth for paralegals is expected to be 8% by the year 2024. Paralegals are a valuable asset to law firms because they are cheaper to employ and can complete many of the tasks that junior lawyers used to do. The change in responsibilities is primarily due to advances in technology that automated tasks paralegals completed in the past.

Paralegals with management experience, many years in the field, and specialization will be more marketable. A relatively new trend for paralegals is the opportunity to work within a corporation. It is costly to hire outside legal help when needed, so businesses have started their own legal department.

The education required to become a paralegal is either an associate’s degree in paralegal studies or a bachelor’s degree in another field and receive a certificate in paralegal studies. Paralegals have the opportunity to specialize during their education.

In Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, and South Africa at least 87% of paralegals are women. In the United Kingdom, only 72% of paralegals are women, and in India, the ratio of men to women is 40% men and 60% women.

Conclusion

A paralegal salary can be considered modest in comparison to a lawyer salary, but they work in a rewarding field and are not responsible for running the law firm. These professionals can practice with an associate’s degree and gain valuable experience on the job. Overall, a paralegal career can be considered a smart career choice.