in Careers Advice, Employers, Legal Job Market Reports

15th September 2019 Legal Recruitment Job Market Report

Legal Recruitment – still an uncertain market

Each month we run a comparison between the last calendar month and the same time period in 2018 to see if there has been any noticeable difference in view of the extreme political uncertainty. In June 2019 we saw a huge increase of 77% in new permanent vacancies compared with the previous year. April and May had seen large movement in the opposite direction, which indicates an extremely volatile market, something we have not seen for many years.

How did July and August 2019 compare with 2018?

This year we saw a 38% fall in the number of new permanent vacancies posted over the summer. We also saw a 23% fall in the number of new locum roles posted with us. We would expect to see these numbers over a summer involving the Olympic Games or the World Cup but not otherwise. The market is still extremely volatile – lots of uncertainty – but still plenty of recruitment as the earth continues to turn despite the gathering storm clouds of the 31st October deadline. We are still hearing about redundancies, but not in large numbers and some look to be the annual clean out of higher salaried staff as firms conduct cost-cutting exercises during quieter times in the year.

KPMG and REC Report on Jobs

The KPMG and REC, UK Report on Jobs is compiled by IHS Markit from responses to questionnaires sent to a panel of around 400 UK recruitment and employment consultancies (including the Ten Percent Group).

Key Findings

Hiring activity wanes due to heightened uncertainty
Demand for staff increases at slowest rate since January 2012
Pay pressures soften

KPMG Comment: ““Brexit uncertainty continues to take its toll on the jobs market, evident by the quickest drop in permanent placements in over three years as employers delay hiring staff.
“Given the current climate, it’s not a surprise but is still a concern to see that the demand for staff increased at the slowest rate since 2012 – and that people are reluctant to seek new roles. On the plus side however, the latest decline in staff supply was the least marked for over two and a half years amid greater competition, softening the pressures on pay. Looking ahead and with investment also contracting, businesses desperately need clarity on Brexit
outcomes in order to re-build confidence in the jobs market and be able to make more informed decisions on their long-term hiring plans.””

Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) Comment: ““Today’s figures are a sobering reminder to politicians of all parties that national prosperity relies on businesses creating jobs and growing careers. Britain’s record on jobs is world-leading. It’s a key part of our economic success, with recruiters at the forefront of it. And there are still great opportunities out there for those looking for a new job and a boost in earnings. But all this rests on business confidence – the confidence to invest, to hire someone, to try something new – and it’s clear that things are getting harder. Permanent placements have now dropped for six months in a row and vacancy growth is slowing. While we continue to benefit from the flexibility of our jobs market as demand for temps holds steady, today’s survey emphasises the real world impacts of the
political and economic uncertainty businesses are facing. The first priority should be avoiding a damaging no-deal Brexit and giving some stability back to British businesses, so they can drive the prosperity of the whole country.”

Statistics

General Statistics for July-August 2019 (comparison is with July-August 2018)
Current live vacancies: 1046
New permanent vacancies added: 68 (109)
New locum vacancies added: 48 (62)
New candidates registering: 169 (169)

August 2019 – Live Jobs (comparison with June 2019 in brackets):
London vacancies: 194 (174) (+11.5%)
South East: 445 (427) (+4%)
South West: 96 (88) (+9%)
Midlands: 75 (74) (+1.5%)
North West: 112 (109) (+2.75%)
North East: 75 (74) (+1%)
Wales: 41 (33) (+10%)

We have 41 law firms for sale at the moment with a couple more coming to market in the next week – for details of law firms for sale please click here to view our list.

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 17 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at www.legalcareercoaching.co.uk. You can contact Jonathan at cv@ten-percent.co.uk