Legal Job Market Report January 2020
in Legal Job Market Reports

Legal Job Market Report January 2020

Legal Recruitment – busy market

Each month we run a comparison between the last calendar month and the same time period in 2019 to see if there has been any noticeable difference. In November we saw a 40% decrease in the number of new permanent vacancies and a 28% decrease in the number of locum assignments.

So how was December 2019 compared to December 2018? We saw a 63% decrease in the number of permanent vacancies registered with us and a 100% increase in the number of locum vacancies. The locum vacancies figure can be discounted as the number of assignments was negligible (from 5 to 10), but the permanent figure is almost certainly due to the General Election and minds being focused elsewhere for everyone in the UK. Now that there is some political certainty we expect to see an increase in recruitment in the first quarter of 2020.


General Statistics for December 2019 (comparison is with December 2018)
Current live vacancies: 1073
New permanent vacancies added: 7 (19)
New locum vacancies added: 10 (5)
New candidates registering: 43 (33)

We have 32 law firms for sale at the moment with a couple more coming to market this month – for details of current law firms for sale please click here to view our list.

Candidate Database Statistics – December 2019
London Candidates: 3064
Midlands Candidates: 1189
North East Candidates: 846
North West Candidates: 988
South East England Candidates: 4834
South West England Candidates: 512
Northern Ireland: 21
Scotland: 64
Wales: 393

KPMG & REC Report on Jobs – January 2020

The 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 rise for first time in a year.
Vacancy growth remains near decade low.
Staff availability continues to fall sharply.

Comment from KPMG:
“It would appear that following the clarity of the election outcome, the jobs market finally began to show signs of life with permanent placements rising for the first time in a year. However, growth was modest and coming off a historically low base, so UK business will be hoping for quick government action to get the UK back on the path to growth including an
investment in upskilling the workforce. Lingering uncertainty around the Brexit deal to be secured will continue to weigh on employers’ decision making around hiring and investment over the coming months, as well as job-seekers desires to seek new opportunities.”

Comment from the REC:
“After the uncertainty of 2019, there are some signs of a clearer outlook for hiring in today’s survey. With a new government in place and the path ahead looking more predictable, some businesses have decided that they have waited long enough. The first increase in permanent placements for a year should give encouragement to both recruiters and employers – let’s
hope this is a sign of positive things to come. Feedback from recruiters shows that the upcoming IR35 changes are affecting both placements and the availability of flexible workers. This is a delicate period for the jobs market, and is the worst time to push through sweeping changes to the way we tax contractors.”

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