Bristol remains the top location for legal employment and has the highest number of current job vacancies, however, Cardiff and Exeter are both seeing a higher rate of growth in the last year. Exeter and Cheltenham are both seeing more demand than Bristol and Cardiff, with Exeter looking to have higher percentage growth than another city in the region in the next 6 months and Cheltenham hoping to reverse it year on year decrease in professions with increased hiring.
Growth has been seen in locations such as Liskeard (29%), and Saltash (59%), as well as multiple locations in South Wales. Landlocked towns such as Aldershot, Shepton Mallet, and Tavistock have all seen a significant decrease of over 8% of legal professionals. This could suggest a move towards the higher salaries and career opportunities of cities or a draw to the work-life balance offered by coastal towns.
Gender, Positions, and Seniority
The legal profession, in general, appears to be weighted more toward females; the data shows that 58% of legal professionals in general within the UK are female. In the Southwest overall, this is higher than the national average, sitting at 63%, and at every level of the profession from Leadership positions down the pre-qualification, there are more women than men. However, it is worth noting that, as the seniority of roles increases, the degree of domination decreases: at the pre-qualification level the makeup is 80% female, but at the leadership level this decreases to 51%, making it more of an even split.
There has been an increase of professionals entering the sector at all levels, but this data really highlights the lack of new graduates at pre-qualification levels which is likely to cause significant issues in the future as there is no talent pipeline. Equally, junior lawyers are the most likely to change jobs and spend the least time in the role, possibly as a result of the increased importance of their priorities outside of work, or another possible theory is that they are looking for more career progression than their senior counterparts. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that, in the current candidate short market, lawyers at the junior level are the most in-demand. It is safe to assume that candidates at this level are being frequently approached about the many opportunities on the market and are likely being tempted by inflated salaries and enhanced benefits. It is, therefore, more important than ever that firms prioritise retention and reassess their offering regularly to ensure it remains competitive.
||Number of professionals
||Changed Jobs (YOY)
||Gender Split % (Female/Male)