Legal Job Market Report October 2021
in Legal Job Market Reports

Legal Job Market Report October 2021

Legal Job Market Report – October 13th 2021

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

Locum Recruitment – Busy
We are still finding the market to be incredibly busy. Firms are still struggling to recruit locums who are prepared to attend office-based assignments, but numbers are starting to pick up and we usually get at least one locum available for each assignment sent through to us.

Conveyancing locums are beginning to get more frequently available and some of our longer standing consultants are starting to email us over availability as of November. October half term may still be a struggle to obtain cover for. Other fields of law are generally not too bad at all, although family seems an issue at the moment. Most corporate and commercial areas still attract a lot of interest, whether in private practice or in house. We are at least 100% up on assignments for the same time last year (see figures below).

Locum assignment updates here:

Permanent Recruitment – Busy
For some firms locum and permanent roles are now becoming more blurred – with firms seeking to take either on to cover busy workloads as fee earners start to realise there is value in the market at the moment and it is a good time to move to obtain a pay rise.. Some firms we come across may start to see an exodus of staff as rates are so low most of their lawyers will automatically get fairly substantial increases if they move. It is very much a candidate driven market at the moment – some roles will virtually be a ‘name your price’ scenario in order to recruit. However as we approach Christmas and work slows down the market will hopefully get back to a bit more normality..

Vacancies can be viewed here:

Law Firms for Sale – Busy
A lot of enquiries are coming through at the moment but the quality of buyers is not as good as it was this time last year. Lots of speculative buyer approaches are taking place, but not so many are getting to offer stage.

Full list at For a confidential discussion please ring 01824 780937 and speak to Jonathan Fagan or email

Ten Percent Legal Recruitment Statistics

General Statistics for September 2021 (bracketed number is for September 2020)
New permanent vacancies added: 34 (22)
New locum vacancies added: 53 (22)
New candidates registering: 34 (73)

REC/KPMG UK Job Market Report

(we are members of the panel contributing to this report)
Key Findings
Hiring activity rises sharply again amid robust demand for staff
Unprecedented increases in starting pay for permanent and temp workers…
…as candidate supply falls at near-record pace

KPMG Partner Comment:
“This month’s unprecedented increase in starting salaries – the highest in 24 years – is being driven by the near record fall in candidate availability. While higher salaries are good for job seekers, wage growth alone is unlikely to help sustain economic recovery because of limited levers to bring people with the right skills to where the jobs are and increase productivity. The sharp rise in hiring activity is a reason to be hopeful, but competition is fierce. The end of the
furlough scheme should be bringing tens of thousands of new people to the jobs market, but many do not have the right skills to transfer to the sectors with most demand.”

Response from the REC (the recruitment agency trade body):
“Demand for workers continued to grow last month, while staff availability fell at a near record pace. Competition for staff has led to the fastest growth in starting salaries since this survey began – not just in logistics and food processing, but in white collar professions as well. But we have all seen how labour shortages have affected our everyday lives over the past few weeks, whether that’s an empty petrol station or fewer goods on supermarket shelves. The scale of the shortages we are seeing cannot be explained by one factor alone, but are a major
challenge to businesses’ ability to drive the prosperity of the UK in the months and years to come – supporting families and paying the taxes that fund public services. While the current crises will pass, rising input costs and further tax rises would only mean higher prices and lower investment in the medium term. It is essential that government works in partnership with business to deliver sustainable growth and rising wages, rather than a crisis-driven sugar rush.”

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