in Legal Job Market Reports

Legal Job Market Update January 14th 2014

Legal Recruitment Job Market Update – January 14th

2013 has been one of the strongest years for growth in the recruitment market for a long time. The KPMG and Recruitment & Employment Confederation Report on Jobs dated 9th January 2014 (monthly report) had the following highlights:

1. Strongest rise in permanent placements since March 2010
2. Temp billings increase at fastest pace in over 15 years
3. Permanent salary growth highest since October 2007
4. Decline in availability of candidates – biggest decline since 2004.

A KPMG partner commented: “Combine the latest job figures with news that business confidence has reached a new high and it’s easy to share the renewed sense of optimism amongst employers.  Permanent placements alone have hit a 4-year peak and with temporary hires accelerating to a 15-year high there is clearly room for…job creation. There is speculation suggesting Mark Carney might revise the unemployment benchmark at which an interest rate rise will be considered. The recovery is clearly gaining momentum…employers and individuals will be keeping an eye on interest rates and the impact any changes have on the pound in their pocket before deciding if a new job is the way to go. Some uncertainty still remains because the availability of staff to fill roles has seen a steep fall – the biggest for almost 10 years….The risk is that if it continues employers who are desperate to fill a gap could become stretched beyond their means at the same time as over-inflating the market by offering high salaries just to tempt employees to move.”

A few points here – I am not sure the high salaries issue is relevant to the legal job market – salaries have been so stunted for so long that any movement will simply be to take certain posts back up towards where they ought to be rather than over-inflating them.

Secondly, as law firms see massive increases in the property market it is likely that investment will occur in expanding operations and hence the number of conveyancing fee earners needed is set to rise. There is still a lost generation of conveyancing lawyers, some of whom are locums and others quite happy in other fields.

Incidentally if you are reading this and thinking of becoming a conveyancing locum, now would be a good time to start! Let us know – our []( contains a lot of information about working as a locum including locum rates. We have managed to keep a couple of our regular property locums in constant employment since the start of the summer with short term and medium term assignments. This was until recently a very rare thing to do. One of our locums came back to the profession after a 4 year break and has not stopped working since.

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and regularly writes 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.

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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