in Legal Job Market Reports

Legal Job Market Report dated October 2018


In recent months there has been a lot of political uncertainty and we were curious to see whether this had been reflected in the legal job market. Each month we undertake a comparison with the same time period in 2017 to see if there has been any difference. The job market was busier in 2017. There has been a 17% decrease in the number of permanent legal job vacancies registered with us in September 2018 compared with the same time frame in 2017. The number of new candidates registering with us has decreased by over 40%. We are more concerned about the decrease in new candidates than we are by the decline in job numbers. This is almost certainly the effect of the political uncertainty we think; candidates are less likely to change jobs if they have a negative outlook or if they feel the market is unstable.


September 2018 – Summary (job numbers):
* London vacancies: 176 (+2%)
* South East: 446 (+4%)
* South West: 93 (+1%)
* Midlands: 71 (+1%)
* North West: 108 (+2%)
* North East: 71 (+4%)
* Wales: 25 (no change)

Statistics for September 2018 (comparison is to September 2017)
Current live vacancies: 963
New permanent vacancies added: 37 (49)
New locum vacancies added: 31 (30)
New candidates registering: 46 (81)
Average ‘Job Strength Factor’ for new vacancies: 3.4 (OK)

We have 18 law firms for sale at the moment – some slightly more hesitant than others when we get near to a deal taking place.. We have not seen a significant increase in numbers this month.

The REC (Recruitment & Employment Confederation) release a monthly review of the employment market in the UK. Key points from their September survey:

Starting salaries rise sharply amid steep reduction in candidate supply
Permanent placements expand at slightly weaker pace
Vacancy growth softens to near two-year low, but remains strong

The Chief Executive of the REC said: “UK businesses are resilient, but they’re struggling to find the people they need to drive growth and opportunity. Recruiters’ specialist skills help to address this, but with Brexit looming a comprehensive mobility deal with the EU will be needed to underpin prosperity.”

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, or offering low salaries and/or poor conditions.
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.

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