in Careers Advice, Legal Job Market Reports

Legal Job Market Update dated 16th December 2017

Legal Job Market Report


November has been a quiet month again, but this is fairly normal as we approach Christmas. We will be writing the same thing for December! Locum assignments have actually picked up a bit, which is unusual, but permanent roles remain down. The increase in conveyancing candidates last month has now ended.


A summary of work we did in November is below (October figures in brackets).
November 2017 – Summary:
* Permanent vacancies down
* Locum assignments up
* London vacancies: 163 (165)
* South East: 393 (398)
* South West: 103 (103)
* Midlands: 55 (57)
* North West: 104 (98)
* North East: 52 (52)
* Wales: 22 (22)

Statistics for November (October in brackets)
Current live vacancies: 894 (897)
New permanent vacancies added in November: 39 (51)
New locum vacancies added in November: 28 (22)
New candidates registering: 46 (45)
Average ‘Job Strength Factor’ for new vacancies: 3.6 (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.

Report from the REC (Recruitment and Employers Confederation)

Key points from the November REC survey (a national survey of over 400 recruitment agencies in all sectors):
• Permanent placements and temp billings both rise at stronger rates
• Availability of candidates continues to decline sharply
• Robust demand for staff leads to further marked increases in pay

Kevin Green, REC Chief Executive says:
“Despite the current uncertainties caused by Brexit and political turmoil, recruiters are placing more people into jobs – particularly in the private sector.
Recruiters also continue to report deteriorating candidate availability and worsening skills shortages. Having less access to candidates can have severe effects, restricting businesses’ ability to grow which means they won’t be able to create jobs or increase pay for staff. Although some hirers are responding by raising starting salaries in an attempt to attract scarce talent, there’s no evidence yet this is leading to pay increases for the wider workforce and those who fail to hire will find themselves in dire straits. Creating certainty for EU workers that are already here, such as nurses, warehouse staff and chefs, is vital so that employers can plan ahead. The government must agree the transitional arrangements in relation to freedom of movement, which they have said they are potentially going to extend to March 2021. They need to define what kind of access UK employers will have to EU workers post-Brexit, at both the high and low end of the labour market. In addition, the government needs to think longer term about how to fill vacancies left by EU workers.”


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