in Legal Job Market Reports

Legal Job Market Update December 3rd 2014

Job Market Update – December 3rd 2014

December 2014 – Summary:
* Permanent vacancies down
* Locum assignments down
* Conveyancing vacancies still busy, Commercial Property vacancies busy
* Wills & Probate vacancies down
* Crime vacancies make brief revival, Personal Injury vacancies disappearing
* Employment Law vacancies – up
* Commercial and Civil Litigation vacancies – still very few
* Family vacancies – down
* Commercial Property Solicitors difficult to source. Conveyancers still quite difficult to find.
* Market outlook – still slowing down as usual for this time of year.

Recently agreed hourly rates and salaries:
* South Coast – Conveyancing – £40k.
* South East – Crime 1 year PQE – £27k.
* South Wales – Family – £37k.
* Middlesex – Conveyancing Locum – £25 per hour.
* North West – Commercial Property Locum (junior) – £25 per hour.
* West London – Family Locum – £30 per hour.
* Bedfordshire – Conveyancing Locum – £28 per hour.
* South West – Conveyancing Locum – £35 per hour.

Comments on the current market from Jonathan Fagan, MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment:

“The legal jobs market is a perpetual wave, rising or sinking. At the moment we are at the bottom of the wave, which will carry on until January 1st, and is perfectly normal for this time of year. On January 1st we will get the first wave of new candidates coming our way when people wake up with a hangover, a list of New Year Resolutions and a memory bank full of occasions when their boss has been mean to them in the last 12 months!”

Locum work ought to have tailed off now until the end of January and a lot of permanent recruitment coming in now is really wishful thinking rather than an intention to take on candidates. After all, it is very difficult to recruit a new member of staff when you can see your firm’s workload decreasing rapidly. January will see the start of the next wave and this will continue through to the end of March with a slight blip around February half term for skiing..

At present on the high street we are still getting some conveyancing roles in but wills & probate has gone quiet. Litigation side remains quiet. Crime is virtually non-existent, but we did get a crime placement in for November plus one likely in the next few weeks.

Christmas will see a complete slow down to the market and this is very usual, despite any media efforts to show market collapse etc..

Current live vacancies: 591
New permanent vacancies added last month: 47
New candidates registering: 141
Average ‘Job Strength Factor’ for new vacancies last month: 3.4
Increase/Decrease in new vacancies from previous month: -20%
Increase/Decrease in new candidates from previous month: +46%

Key points from the KPMG and REC Job Market survey for November 2014:
▪ Permanent appointments growth still strong in October, despite easing
▪ Pay growth moderates
▪ Staff availability continues to decline markedly

Commenting on the latest survey results, Bernard Brown, Partner at KPMG, said:
“The slowdown in salary growth comes as little surprise, with many businesses trying to balance the books in the wake of reduced growth and output in some sectors, uncertainty over our relationship with Europe in others, and a reticence to pay over the odds when the right skills seem to be lacking. Inflation may be easing, but with many people either struggling on low incomes or still behind the earnings curve because of years of pay freezes, it is something employers will have to consider very carefully. The ruling, earlier this week, on holiday and overtime pay will ensure this is an issue that will rumble on for some time.”

This review is undertaken by KPMG and the REC (a recruitment agency trade body) who contact 100s of recruitment agencies across the UK to undertake a monthly questionnaire. We are part of the panel and get exclusive access to the report.

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. Traditionally our clients have been high street law firms and smaller niche 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 usually also involves contacting recruitment agencies in the hope that they have candidates with their own following and not looking for a 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 or visit one of our websites.

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