As a premier legal recruitment team, my colleagues and I are often asked to weigh in on what market trends we’re experiencing. With the market especially buoyant and the advantage tilted in the candidates favour, these questions are coming more often from our clients who want to retain and attract top talent. I wanted to share my thoughts on the 4 topics most inquired about in recent months.
Which level of experience and PQE is in highest demand.
- This summer saw an increase in recruitment activity in the In-house and Private Practice market across the board. This exponential growth in demand has put a strain on candidate pools in both areas.
- The 3-6 PQE lawyers are most in demand as companies seek to promote inteal employees and back-fill roles at a junior level, 65% of roles have been from within this banding.
- Commercial contracts experience continues to be in high demand as companies look to reduce the cost of exteal legal spend. Commercial lawyers with exposure to other practice areas bring an obvious advantage to in-house teams as lawyers are typically asked to support a wide breath of work when they move in-house.
Which sectors have been the busiest?
- The TMT and Fintech sectors have seen phenomenal demand for in-house lawyers, over 62% of the in-house vacancies in the last 6 months have been in these sectors.
- This includes start-up businesses in the video and app delivery space along with more established global companies increasing their presence in the UK and therefore needing local legal talent.
Which sectors have been the quietest?
- Leisure and hospitality have continued to be affected by the pandemic resulting in a slowdown in hiring and their in-house legal teams remaining stretched.
- Companies that are or have hired have tended to be back filling roles rather than creating new ones.
- There is however, retuing activity as businesses are adapting to ‘living with restrictions’ and redesigning their operations. Particularly around their use of technology to help facility future growth as identified by PwC.
What are candidates expecting from the market?
- While there has been a supply shortage of candidates for roles, this hasn’t affected salary levels. However, candidates are now expecting a greater degree of flexible working going forwards particularly with regards to home working and the average number of days required in the office per year.
- Candidates are no longer viewing flexible working as an optional benefit, and it has become a key factor in negotiating offers and a candidates push and pull factors. Companies adopting home working and flexible working have been most successful in retaining and attracting top talent from the widest candidate pools.
· Candidates moving from private practice to in-house expect more consistent working hours and the opportunity to strike a balance between their work and personal lives.
Our Advice to employers currently recruiting at this level is as follows:
GET THE NARRATIVE RIGHT
Candidates want to know what you can offer that is different – the job description alone is not enough. What are the values of your organisation? How do you define your culture? What is the development opportunity?
Good candidates do not stay on the market for long. Keep the momentum going during the recruitment process. Do not have long breaks between interview stages, provide feedback promptly, keep the candidate engaged throughout.
BROADEN YOUR PQE EXPECTATIONS
With the demand for mid-level lawyers so high in practice and inhouse, re-align your expectations to more junior candidates who are not at as much of a premium. Meaning you will not have to sacrifice on culture/personality fit if you can compromise on offering more training.