Legal Job Market Report – August 2022
in Legal Job Market Reports

Legal Job Market Report – August 2022

Here is our summary of the current state of the legal job market:

Locum Recruitment – Very Busy
The market is incredibly busy and we continue the theme from last month, which is if we can get a locum expressing an interest for a role, we are very pleased with our performance (its usual to have at least 2-3 locums per assignment to choose from). Remote working is still the primary requirement for a lot of locums, and we still find it much easier to source remote working locums than office based in most areas of the UK. One major issue is permanent recruitment and the huge disparity between employee and employer expectations, which is continuing. Local authorities have experienced similar problems in recruitment for years (local authority locums get paid a lot more than salaried local authority lawyers and hence it can be very hard to fill salaried local authority roles). We think private practice may go the same way too and end up more dependent on ad hoc consultants than they do salaried fee earners. All areas of locum work are busy – in house corporate commercial, family, private client. Notable exceptions as usual are personal injury and employment law.

Locum assignment updates here: https://www.interimlawyers.co.uk/category/locum-solicitor-updates/

Permanent Recruitment – Very Busy
This section of our newsletter is starting sound a bit like a stuck CD. Finding PAYE/salaried staff for any jobs at the moment is hard work – last month we only had 29 new candidates registering, which is the lowest figure for a very long time indeed. There is a shortage of just about everyone other than inexperienced paralegals and one of the hardest jobs for us at the moment is managing expectations – employers looking for employees. Difficulties arise primarily around remote working and salary levels. Candidates want figures far higher than firms can often afford and wages to attract candidates need to be higher than levels we are seeing a number of firms try to recruit at. Most recruitment for us is taking place from our database of existing candidates rather than job posting, which is having much less effect generally as the months go on.

Vacancies can be viewed here: https://www.ten-percent.co.uk/vacancies/

Law Firms for Sale – Busy
Slightly quieter than usual at the moment from buyers and sellers due to the summer break. Our valuation & exit advice services are however extremely busy as law firm owners consider their plans prior to the PII renewal season. We have a couple of very keen buyers chasing law firm shell sales at the moment, which probably ties in with the PII renewals.

Full list at https://www.jonathanfagan.co.uk/law-accountancy-firms-for-sale/. For valuations, exit planning or a confidential discussion about a potential sale or acquisition generally please ring 01824 780937 and speak to Jonathan Fagan or email jf@jonathanfagan.co.uk

Ten Percent Legal Recruitment Statistics

General Statistics for July 2022 (bracketed number is for July 2021)
New permanent vacancies added: 31 (30)
New locum vacancies added: 48 (39)
New candidates registering: 29 (47)

KPMG & REC Report on Jobs UK August 2022

Summary:
Slowest increase in permanent placements for 17 months
Demand for staff rises at softest rate since March 2021
Downturn in staff supply eases, but pay pressures remain acute

Commentary from Claire Warnes, Head of Education, Skills and Productivity at KPMG UK
“The trend of uncertainty in the UK jobs market of the last few months continues, as overall hiring activity saw another slowdown in July. Given the challenging economic outlook, employers are rightly hesitant about their hiring plans. But to compound this, a lack of suitable candidates and an overall skills shortage in most sectors are keeping starting salaries high. As the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite – alongside rising inflation – workers may well choose to stay where they are rather than risk job security by moving now.”

Commentary from Kate Shoesmith, REC Deputy CEO
“The jobs market remains solid. Demand for staff continues to rise, as it has done since early 2021, rising in every sector. Starting salaries are still growing too, making this a good time for jobseekers to be looking for their next role. However, growth in permanent hiring has softened in recent months. We’ve seen that rising fuel and energy prices, inflation and labour shortages are impacting employer confidence. Labour and skills shortages are also restricting opportunities for both the private and public sector to meet consumer demand.”

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 20 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.ten-percent.uk. You can contact Jonathan at cv@ten-percent.co.uk