in Careers Advice, Legal Job Market Reports

Legal Job Market Report dated July 2019

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 May 2019 we saw a 42%
decrease in the number of new permanent vacancies compared with the
previous year. April had seen similar reductions.

How was June?

In
June 2019 we saw a large and somewhat unexpected increase of 77% in new
permanent vacancies compared with June 2018. We also saw an increase in
locum roles for the same time period. At present the market is defying
all trends – for 20 years we have seen very similar patterns of work –
vacancies increase from April to August and then decrease from September
December, before increasing gradually to March. In the present
marketplace this pattern has been completely disrupted. We had reports
from firms a few months ago that the market was extremely quiet and this
was coupled with reports from candidates that redundancies were
occurring in the property sector as sellers were waiting to see the
outcome of the Brexit negotiations. However for the past 4 weeks we have
had a number of property locums offered permanent roles and new
permanent property jobs being logged because firms are so busy, so this
is clearly not currently the trend.

We
are still seeing a good number of new locum registrations, which are
much higher than usual. Again we would like to think that our Interim
Lawyers platform has become very popular in recent weeks, hence the
large increase in the numbers of locums registering, but a number of
them are citing ‘lifestyle’ as a reason for becoming a locum and this is
very often code for ‘looming redundancy’.

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
Permanent placements decline for fifth time in six months
Temp billings expand only slightly
Vacancy growth holds close to multi-year low

KPMG
Comment: “Brexit stagnation continues to seize up the jobs market as
the slowdown in recruitment activity continues. Permanent staff
appointments fell again in June, the fourth month in a row, while
subdued confidence ensured that growth in temporary billings remained
historically weak. As we approach the summer holidays, the worry is that
vacancy growth – which held close to a multiyear low in June – is
unlikely to bounce back as firms take a relatively cautious approach to
hiring. Uncertainty is also likely to further dampen staff availability,
as candidates are reluctant to change roles at this time. Looking
ahead, conditions across the labour market are likely to remain
restrained against a backdrop of political and economic uncertainty
before companies can start to make more informed decisions on
their long-term hiring.”

Recruitment
& Employment Confederation (REC) Comment: “The jobs market has
slowed a little, but one issue which shows no sign of relenting is the
shortage of qualified candidates in some areas. [I’ve edited this
comment to remove a rant about the Apprenticeship Levy!].

Statistics

General Statistics for June 2019 (comparison is with June 2018)
Current live vacancies: 987
New permanent vacancies added: 69 (39)
New locum vacancies added: 28 (22)
New candidates registering: 85 (38)

June 2019 – Live Jobs (comparison with June 2018 in brackets):
London vacancies: 174 (177) (-1.75%)
South East: 427 (447) (-4.5%)
South West: 88 (90) (-2%)
Midlands: 74 (68) (+8%)
North West: 109 (106) (+2.75%)
North East: 74 (74)
Wales: 33 (30) (+10%)

We have 41 law firms for sale at the moment – 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