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The Senior Shortage and Flat Salaries: What’s Up With That?

The economy has finally emerged from the recession and my firm has been getting a lot of new work.  However, the partners have been complaining about how they're having to turn down work because they don't have enough people do to the work, particularly seniors.  However, they also seem to be opposed to the idea of paying more than what any other firm would pay for a senior assoicate.  I know this is not unique to my firm as people at other firms in this city are saying the same thing.

However, I've looked at salary history for senior associates and it seems like salaries have been flat (or actually declined slightly after factoring in inflation) since about 2000.  I understand that partners are accountants too and hate spending money, but it seems irrational that they are so opposed to paying above market rates to attract seniors that they are actually turning down work and making less profit as a result.

A shortage of seniors would suggest that salaries ought to go up.  So why are partners seemingly allergic to offering a raise?