Legal Job Market Update March 10th 2019
in Legal Job Market Reports

Legal Job Market Update March 10th 2019

Summary – An Uncertain Market

Each month we run a comparison between the last calendar month and the same time period in 2018 to see if there has been any noticeable difference in view of the political uncertainty. In February 2019 we saw an increase of 52% in new permanent vacancies compared with February 2018. This was the complete opposite to January which saw a 50% decrease in jobs! The market is still not heading in one direction or the other – very volatile. We are seeing hesitancy from candidates at the moment – we have had a couple of good job offers turned down this month and a lack of applications for seemingly good quality jobs. The number of locum roles declined last month compared with 2018 which was a surprise to us. In view of the uncertainty, particularly that expressed by firms and businesses around London, we have seen a number of redundancies at conveyancing firms in the area, although the market is still buoyant elsewhere.


General Statistics for February 2019 (comparison is to February 2018)
Current live vacancies: 1021
New permanent vacancies added: 35 (23)
New locum vacancies added: 16 (26)
New candidates registering: 67 (61)

February 2019 – Live Jobs (comparison with February 2018 in brackets):
* London vacancies: 171 (171)
* South East: 474 (480) (-1.25%)
* South West: 88 (92) (-4%)
* Midlands: 71 (74) (-4%)
* North West: 108 (105) (+3%)
* North East: 75 (75)
* Wales: 28 (28)

We have 43 law firms for sale at the moment: 23% increase in 3 months.

The recent KPMG and REC UK Report on Jobs found the following:

Permanent placements fall for first time in two-and-a-half-years
Vacancy growth edges down to 27-month low
Sharper fall in candidate availability leads to further increases in starting pay.

Comments from KPMG as follows:

“With Brexit just days away now, it’s definitely a nervous time for recruiters. January marked the first fall in permanent staff appointments since the referendum and we’ve seen a sharp decline in the number of candidates entering the jobs market. This is pushing up starting salaries at historically strong rates. Both employers and employees are in ‘wait and see mode’ now and there is little reason to believe the brakes will come off the jobs market before we find out what sort of Brexit the UK is about to experience. The majority of sectors across the UK economy are now more cautious, and hiring more slowly than they were 12 months ago. Nationally the number of permanent staff appointments has fallen considerably in the North region, Midlands region and London. The exception is the Southern region where the number of permanent staff appointments continues to grow, albeit more slowly.”


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