Legal Job Market Report 22nd March 2023
in Legal Job Market Reports

Legal Job Market Report 22nd March 2023

Here is our summary of the current state of the UK legal job market:

Locum Recruitment – Quiet
Locum work remains at quite a reduced level, and looking at the lists of vacancies I can see that the majority of this relates to a drop in conveyancing locum requests. We are still getting an increased numbers of property locums registering with us and some professional locums are starting to consider permanent roles as well, which is quite a change from 2022 and the property locum shortage. Corporate and commercial roles seem quite thin on the ground as well. Hopefully as we approach the summer the locum market will pick up.

Locum assignment updates here:

Permanent Recruitment – Quiet
Salaried work has not seen the same drop in jobs being registered, but we are still over 50% down on last year. There are more candidates looking for work at the moment, but there remains a reluctance to move jobs in the current climate, which is very understandable. We are also seeing candidates applying for work, but when offered roles deciding not to accept because they are worried about the volatility of the market.

Vacancies can be viewed here:

Law Firms for Sale – Busy
Law firm sales & merger enquiries are busy and we are going to see a new tranche of law firms going to market over the next 4 weeks as we complete valuations. There have been a number of deals falling through in recent weeks, partly caused by the property market dropping but also a bit of nervousness on the part of one or more of the parties involved. We still have not seen any large increases in firms looking for quick sales at low prices although we are getting a number of enquiries from buyers seeking bargains and expecting there to be a lot of firms desperate for a sale, which is not the case at the moment.

Full list of firms for sale at For valuations, exit planning or a confidential discussion about a potential sale or acquisition generally please ring 01824 780937 and speak to Jonathan Fagan or email

Ten Percent Group statistics for February 2023 (February 2022 in brackets)

New contract roles added – 18 (33)
New permanent roles added – 20 (41)
New candidates added – 40 (45)

KPMG & REC Report on Jobs UK 8th March 2023

Further fall in permanent placements, but temp billings rise
Vacancy growth improves for second month running
Softest reduction in candidate supply for nearly two years

Commentary from Claire Warnes, Head of Education, Skills and Productivity at KPMG UK
“The current economic outlook continues to impact hiring activity as employers keep playing the
short game by focusing on temporary hires, while permanent appointments fall for the fifth month in a row. Despite the rate of vacancy growth picking up to the best recorded in four months, candidate shortages remain, with recruiters citing hesitancy to move roles and longstanding, systemic skills shortages. Nursing, care and medical topped the rankings once again with highest demand for workers – both temporary and permanent. These factors combined continue to play into pay inflation as employers try to compete with the rising cost of living.”

Commentary from Kate Shoesmith REC Deputy CEO
“This is further proof of ongoing demand in the UK jobs market, coming on the back of our most recent Labour Market Tracker report which showed new job adverts at a 14-month high in February. As hirers work out what variable economic forecasts might mean for their business and staff, it makes sense that we continue to see temp billings hold up so well. Demand for
staff continued to expand across both the private and public sectors. The rising cost of living, plus difficulties attracting and securing suitably skilled staff are also driving increases in starting pay. It will be particularly important to watch for any early trends coming from this data on regional disparities in supply and demand in the labour market. What this latest Report on Jobs shows is serious labour and skills shortages are not behind us.”

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 20 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