Legal Job Market Report May 2023
in Legal Job Market Reports

Legal Job Market Report May 2023

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

Locum Recruitment – Quiet
Locum work remains at a reduced level but we are starting to see locum conveyancing roles being registered for annual leave cover. Much lower than usual though. Corporate and commercial roles remain thin on the ground as well, but we are still seeing a steady trickle of assignments in across all fronts. There remains an increase in the number of locum lawyers registering for work with us.

Locum assignment updates here:

Permanent Recruitment – Quiet
This remains quiet. The property market remains very quiet, which has a knock-on effect for recruitment into law firms. In the past month we have only seen one permanent conveyancing role being registered. Corporate commercial work seems muted as well at the moment.

Vacancies can be viewed here:

Law Firms for Sale – Busy
Law firm sales & merger enquiries are busy and we have had a number of new clients listing on the market in the past week with more to follow. A number of deals have recently exchanged and in April one firm listed with us and got an offer within 24 hours.

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 April 2023 (April 2022 in brackets)

New contract roles added – 21 (35)
New permanent roles added – 25 (35)
New candidates added – 59 (42)

KPMG & REC Report on Jobs UK 10th May 2023

Temp billings expand at quickest rate in seven months
Permanent placements drop at steeper pace
Starting pay inflation remains sharp

Commentary from Claire Warnes, Head of Education, Skills and Productivity at KPMG UK
““The preference for hiring short-term staff continued unabated into April. Businesses remain
cautious about committing to permanent hires in the face of ongoing economic uncertainty, which led to the quickest increase in temporary billings for seven months. Recruitment freezes and candidates lacking the right skills were also cited as causing this divergence, with permanent staff appointments contracting at the fastest rate in two years. For businesses looking to hire there are some green shoots in candidate availability, as supply improved for the second month in a row. Starting rates of pay for both permanent and temporary positions are
still rising at historically sharp rates, giving people an incentive to move roles. But skills shortages still dominate the market with no signs of progress.”

Commentary from Neil Carberry REC CEO
““This data shows how uncertain many employers are feeling right now. The good news is they still need to hire, as growing vacancies show. But firms are hedging their bets. After a better month in March, in April we saw permanent hiring fall back quickly and businesses turn to temps to help them through. London had a particularly difficult month. The picture varies for temporary recruitment too, with REC members reporting weaker demand in some sectors than others as sectors like logistics, driving and food are heavily affected by changing consumer behaviour. Taken together, however, there is still plenty of opportunity out there for jobseekers.
Wages are rising strongly for both temps and new permanent hires in the face of inflation, even though candidate availability is finally starting to improve. For employers, hiring is unlikely to get easier soon..”

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