in Legal Job Market Reports

Legal Job Market Update November 7th 2014

Job Market Update – November 4th

November 2014 – Summary:
* Permanent vacancies up
* Locum assignments up
* Conveyancing vacancies up, Commercial Property vacancies up
* Wills & Probate vacancies up
* Crime vacancies gone, Personal Injury vacancies disappearing
* Employment Law vacancies – non-existent
* Commercial and Civil Litigation vacancies – very few
* Family vacancies – up
* Commercial Property Solicitors extremely difficult to source. Conveyancers difficult to find.
* Market outlook – slowing down as usual for this time of year.

Comments on the current market from Jonathan Fagan, MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment:
“The employment market is a perpetual wave, rising or sinking. At the moment we are sinking on the wave, which is perfectly normal for this time of year. In fact at Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment we very often see locum work tailing off until January and a lot of permanent recruitment simply turns into wishful thinking rather than actual take up of candidates. After all, it is very difficult to recruit a new member of staff when you can see your firm’s workload decreasing rapidly and is another reason why locum work also drops off from November onwards. 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 a large number of conveyancing and wills & probate vacancies coming in, but very little on the litigation side which remains quiet. Crime is virtually non-existent, and I think practitioners are starting to accept the inevitable – either Capita/G4S are on their way to run large call centres and freelancers or firms are going to upsize and try to become a player with the LAA (see the back of the Gazette last week for an example!).
An interesting development this month is the announcement that legal executives undertaking conveyancing and probate are going to be able to set up law firms on their own to practice. This will have an effect on students coming into the profession as they can now consider going down the route of ILEX without worrying at all about the need to cross qualify in future years. In fact it could be argued that for anyone planning to have a career in property or private client on the high street it is better to avoid the LPC and a training contract and go down the ILEX route as it is much cheaper. Another recruitment agency, Robert Half, has predicted a 3% rise in salaries over the next 12 months in certain sectors of law. I can similarly see this happening, if not more, as firms increasingly struggle to find non-contentious law solicitors.”

Current live vacancies: 635
New permanent vacancies added last month: 38
New candidates registering: 103
Average ‘Job Strength Factor’ for new vacancies last month: 3.5
Increase/Decrease in new vacancies from previous month: -13%
Increase/Decrease in new candidates from previous month: -40%

Key points from the KPMG and REC Job Market survey for October 2014:
▪ Permanent placements rise at slowest rate in ten months
▪ Growth in starting salaries moderates to four-month low
▪ Temp pay rises at fastest pace in nearly seven years

Commenting on the latest survey results, Bernard Brown, Partner at KPMG, said:
“Buoyancy is back in British businesses, but there are still areas of the UK where the signs suggest we are not quite ready to turn the corner. Youth unemployment is, for example, still too high.. It won’t be easy as the latest figures suggest that as many organisations come to the end of their financial year, purse strings have been tightened and recruitment decisions are put off until new budgets are agreed. With permanent placements slowing to a ten month low, perhaps the uncertainty caused by political crises across the globe are beginning to affect decision-makers’ confidence. At the same time wages continue to dominate debate around the strength of the labour market. Starting salaries might look healthy, and are undoubtedly tempting some people to move, but the reality is that employers will soon reach a ceiling beyond which they won’t be able to throw more cash around to land the right candidate. It also seems that the incentive for taking on temporary roles is strengthening as pay packets improve, and if the cost of living continues to rise as expected, we may yet see candidates forced to choose between securing financial rewards in short bursts or long-term security. As we enter the tail end of the year, the hope must be that this is a short-term blip, rather than heralding a winter of discontent.”

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