in Legal Job Market Reports

Legal Job Market Report May 11th 2016

Legal Job Market Update – May 2016
As usual April was a quiet time for us. It coincides with the joys of the end of the tax year, Easter, school holidays and the run up to May Day Bank Holiday. This year has been busier than usual, not because of any major influx of new work but more to do with Easter being a bit earlier. Locum roles have started to come in but not yet in the flood of work we will see in a few weeks time (we hope!). The EU referendum combined with the Euro 2016 tournament starting on the 10th June is almost guaranteed to have a considerable dampener on the jobs market as attention is drawn elsewhere for employers and jobseekers alike.

Permanent vacancies are currently up and at levels we would expect to see for April.

Conveyancing is now busy again but there still remains a clear lack of available candidates. I am getting reports from some areas of the country that both commercial property and conveyancing are very busy and some firms are struggling to cope with the demand.

Wills & probate is busy and there still remains a discrepancy between salary expectations and salaries being offered. Candidates are not widely available and there is still a major demand for private client locums as a result (and an ensuing shortage of locums!).

Litigation – both civil and commercial – is still very quiet. Not a lot going on at all. Corporate commercial work is always sporadic for us as we are not on larger firm Preferred Supplier Lists.

May is going to be busy – the period of May-July is always one of two main recruitment waves each year and we expect plenty of new vacancies to come in. Candidates tend to be more receptive to new vacancies at this time of year and employer more realistic in terms of packages being offered.

A summary of work we did in April is below.

April 2016 – Summary:
* Permanent vacancies up
* Locum assignments down
* Conveyancing vacancies – busy
* Commercial Property vacancies – some
* Wills & Probate vacancies – some
* Commercial and Civil Litigation vacancies – few
* Family vacancies – few
* Market outlook – work will now increase as we are in the busiest recruitment cycle of the financial year (May – July).

Current live vacancies: 663
New permanent vacancies added in April: 26
New locum vacancies added in April: 26
New candidates registering: 89
Average ‘Job Strength Factor’ for new vacancies April: 3.5 (OK)

Key points from the REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) April UK Job Market survey:
Permanent placements increase at slowest pace since September 2015
Temp billings growth at 13-month high
National Living Wage drives sharpest rise in temp pay since mid-2007

Commenting on the latest survey results, REC chief executive Kevin Green said:
– The UK labour market is going through an unsettled patch, with uncertainty around a possible Brexit and the impact of the National Living Wage changing employer behaviour with a switch from permanent to temporary hiring.
– Employers are turning to temps and contractors to provide a flexible resource, as a way of hedging any possible change to the UK’s relationship with Europe, and the implications this would have on the economy.
– There are concerning signs that permanent hiring in the public sector is in decline. The NHS is struggling to fill permanent roles and this is pushing up demand for agency nurses and locum doctors as hospitals try to ensure safe staffing levels. This is a major concern because healthcare recruiters tell us that since the introduction of mandatory pay caps imposed by government, candidates are opting to leave the NHS to work in the private sector or to go abroad.”

Ten-Percent 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.

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and regularly writes for the Ten-Percent website and the Legal Recruitment blog, an award-winning selection of articles and features on legal recruitment and the legal profession. You can contact Jonathan at

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