Good morning. Here is our summary of the current state of the legal job market:
Permanent Recruitment – Quiet
Whilst it is quiet, there are clearly patterns of recruitment needs forming across the country. It is not clear whether conveyancing is currently enjoying a temporary spurt in demand until the stamp duty holiday finishes, but there are firms dipping their toes in the water to see who is available as their departments are rushed off their feet. Other areas of law are ticking along but there is no major rush to recruit whilst everything is so uncertain.
Locum Recruitment – Steady
We work on the basis usually of a minimum requirement to sustain our business of one new assignment a day and one new placement every five days. We have comfortably exceeded this now for the duration of September and October. I expect the work to carry on into November before dying off in December. Firms are happy to look to the locum market to handle excess work and not risk recruiting permanently whilst there are so many variables coming into play. We have seen a number of firms taking on consultants – some have work, some do not. It seems a risk-free way of expansion, but it does usually only have any effect if you have an ongoing stream of work to offer..
Law Firms for Sale – Reasonably Busy
Law firm buyers remain active. In a nutshell sellers seek buyers with lots of cash, buyers seek sellers looking to hand over their firms for nothing. Our job as brokers remains to bring the two sides back to reality (I generalise of course!). Still a busy market with plenty of genuine buyers coming through for the right deals. Popular requests are conveyancing firms on lender panels, ABS firms, limited company firms and firms looking to merge with no or little cash changing hands and the sellers staying on as consultants.
REC/KPMG UK Job Market Report (we are members of the panel contributing to this report)
Renewed fall in permanent placements contrasts with quicker rise in temp billings
Overall vacancies decline, after rising in September
Substantial rise in candidate supply drives down starting pay
“With a reluctance to recruit permanent staff and a big increase in people available for work, the impending lockdown puts the UK jobs market in a precarious position. While the furlough scheme extension may give a brief respite, it will fuel economic uncertainty and further dampen prospects for jobseekers, hitting hiring activity hard. October brought a dose of realism after a quick economic bounce in the summer… the outlook remains uncertain, and concerning. We face a challenging winter and temporary work will be a vital tool for keeping businesses going and people in work.”
Ten Percent Legal Recruitment Statistics – October 2020
General Statistics for October 2020 (comparison is with October 2019)
New permanent vacancies added: 17 (37)
New locum vacancies added: 16 (27)
New candidates registering: 88 (72)