in Careers Advice, Legal Job Market Reports

Legal Job Market Report October 11th 2019

Legal Recruitment – still an uncertain market

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 August 2019 we saw a
38% fall in the number of new permanent vacancies. We also saw a 23%
fall in the number of new locum roles posted with us.

how was September 2019 compared to 2018? We had the same number of
locum assignments in both years but saw a 22% fall in permanent
vacancies. Uncertainty in the market? Possibly, although this was a fall
from 36 to 28, so not that bad!

in September we watch the job market decline as we get into the run up
to Christmas. Recruitment tends to be busy from March to September and
then quieter from October to February. Locum work always falls off,
particularly for short term conveyancing cover, and hourly rates drop as
more locums compete for less jobs.


General Statistics for September 2019 (comparison is with September 2018)
Current live vacancies: 1061
New permanent vacancies added: 28 (36)
New locum vacancies added: 17 (16)
New candidates registering: 101 (46)

October 2019 – Live Jobs (comparison with October 2019 in brackets):
London vacancies: 194 (194)
South East: 453 (445) (+2%)
South West: 96 (96)
Midlands: 80 (75) (+7%)
North West: 112 (112)
North East: 76 (75) (+1%)
Wales: 41

We have 39 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.

KPMG and REC Report on Jobs

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 drop for seventh month in a row
Weakest increase in vacancies for over seven-and-a-half years
Availability of staff continues to drop amid uncertain outlook

Comment from KPMG:
“The Brexit impasse continues to affect the jobs market with employers
stuck, unable to make informed decisions, and people unwilling to risk
seeking new roles. Given that it’s the weakest increase in job vacancies
since 2012 and the longest period that permanent staff appointments
have fallen since the global financial crisis, it would seem that it’s
proving difficult for businesses to shake off the heightened uncertainty
and unknowns. So with the deadline fast approaching, they may well be
waiting to get clarity on the future direction of Brexit before making
any key decisions on hiring and investment.”

Comment from the REC:
“Businesses are positive about their own prospects, but ongoing Brexit uncertainty
has led many firms to delay projects and hiring decisions. Vacancy
growth has fallen to its lowest since 2012. The UK’s vibrant temporary
work market is playing an important role in helping employers to manage
the ongoing uncertainty and jobseekers to find work. There are deeper
issues which must be addressed to secure the UK’s future prosperity.
Productivity is falling, and there are skills shortages in vital sectors
across the economy. Solving these problems must be top of the
government’s to-do list once the Brexit deadlock has been broken.”

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 You can contact Jonathan at