Legal: The War for Talent Intensifies

In another challenging year for the employment market, we have seen an unprecedented demand for candidates, which has in turn led to significantly inflated salaries. 
  • In the last 12 months, we have seen some candidates increase their salary from £60,000 to £120,000. It is equally commonplace to encounter salary increases from £35,000 to £55,000 when certain in-demand candidates find that they are not being paid their current market rate, and are offered a large increase because of how competitive the market is.
  • In particular, the rise in NQ Solicitor Salaries has hit an all-time high, as reported by Legal Cheek, with firm Osborne Clarke confirming that NQ lawyers in Reading will receive a base of £81,000.
  • We are continuing to operate in a market where candidates in the legal sector are a commodity and firms are fighting for talent. This looks set to continue into 2023 and beyond.
  • The continued popularity of remote, hybrid, and flexible working post-pandemic has had a significant impact on the market, with the knock-on effect being that candidates from regions outside of London are now able to commute into London for 2-3 days per week and earn a London living wage whilst still living outside the city.
  • Equally, the quality of work in the regions outside of London is significantly improving, which is leading to more candidates leaving London for a better work-life balance.
  • In the regions, there seems to be less snobbery around which firms candidates are moving from and, as such, there has been an increase in candidates from high street firms joining Legal 500 practices.
  • In terms of industry news, this year we saw Clyde & Co successfully achieve Mansfield Rule certification for the first time in the UK, meaning that the firm commits to consider at least 30% women, lawyers of colour, LGBTQ+ lawyers, and lawyers with disabilities for leadership and governance roles.
  • In terms of candidate priorities when changing roles, in the current market company culture and a strong EVP are the top priority.


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