in Careers Advice, Legal Job Market Reports

Legal Job Market Report March 8th 2017

Legal Job Market Update

Key points from February 2017 as follows:
* The demand for staff generally has increased in line with the seasonal norm.
* Permanent recruitment has increased.
* Locum recruitment has increased but hourly rates have dropped in some areas.
* Wills and Probate locum and permanent roles have dropped off a bit and private client solicitors remain in demand.
* Conveyancing has picked up – both locum and permanent.
* Commercial Property roles remain at low levels.
* Litigation quiet.
* London market getting busier.

Summary

February 2017 has been the usual mixed month involving heavy bursts of work interspersed with quiet periods whilst everyone is off skiing! Locum assignment levels have increased again – compared with February 2016 we saw an increase of 10%. The number of law firms looking to take consultants with a following of clients have dropped off which is good to see (we do not include these roles in our vacancy statistics as they are not technically job vacancies). On the permanent side there has been a wide mix of work across England and Wales. On the locum conveyancing side we have seen hourly rates dropping due to the level of competition.

Out of the 73 new vacancies posted in February, 15 of them were in Greater London and 28 in the South East. 15 were conveyancing vacancies and 6 were wills & probate posts.

A summary of work we did in February is below.
February 2017 – Summary:
* Permanent vacancies up
* Locum assignments up
* London vacancies: 151
* South East: 335
* South West: 82
* Midlands: 57
* North West: 81
* North East: 36
* Wales: 19
* Market outlook – vacancies continue to increase – this is the standard annual recruitment cycle. No other major changes noted.

Statistics
Current live vacancies: 761
New permanent vacancies added in February: 40
New locum vacancies added in February: 33
New candidates registering: 68 (down – 81 in January)
Average ‘Job Strength Factor’ for new vacancies: 3.5 (Good)

TP Legal Recruitment publishes the number of new vacancies, new candidates and indicate the increase or decrease from the previous month. We aim to assist the legal profession by showing the market from our perspective. Our clients tend to be high street law firms and smaller sized commercial practices.
The average job strength gives a good indication of the market because:
1. A poor Job Strength on vacancies indicates a struggling market. When trade is bad, employers seek options for increasing turnover which involve sourcing candidates with their own following and no salary.
2. A strong Job Strength on vacancies indicates a buoyant market, particularly if it is in connection with an increase in numbers of new vacancies.
Vacancies are each graded 1-5, with 5 being a very strong vacancy and 1 being a very weak vacancy.

General report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation dated 8th March 2017:

Permanent placements increase at quickest pace in one year…
…but temp billings growth softens to four-month low
Demand for staff reaches 18-month peak

The CEO of the REC, Kevin Green summarised the report as follows:
“Although permanent placements have hit a 12 month high, businesses across the UK are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit for permanent roles. The big question still remains about how employers will fill their vacancies. The Chancellor is expected to announce a boost for vocational training in today’s budget and this is very welcome. However, it won’t solve the immediate need for people to fill jobs. We’re already seeing acute staff shortages in a variety of sectors, from healthcare to engineering. This is likely to get worse, especially if the Government continues to refuse the rights of EU citizens living in the UK post-Brexit. On the flip-side, this is a good time for individuals prepared to move jobs, with bumper pay offers on the table as hirers compete to secure the talent available. In the context of rising inflation and stagnating pay growth, changing employers is becoming a more attractive option for those looking for more money.”

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