To give enhanced context and insight to our 2022 Salary Survey, we asked our Associate Directors to give us their key take-outs and perspectives from the year in business, and to reflect on the hiring trends that they foresee continuing to impact the market in the year ahead. Read on for Dan Hazzard’s take-outs from the Legal sector.
- Candidates are in short supply, which is leading to a competitive market for law firms
- Firms are having to think of new ways to set themselves apart from competitors
- Technology continues to push the industry forward
- There is increasing emphasis on diversity and inclusion in the workplace
Both pre- and post-Brexit, the legal sector is one that has seen a definite increase in workload. Work around intellectual property, immigration, trade law, data protection and migration has generated increases across the board in enquiries and legal support. Similarly, there remains ongoing confusion around tax legislation and how this is to be applied on the movement of goods and manufacturing including both Europe and Northern Ireland.
The pandemic saw many candidates change firms which is likely due to several factors including redundancy and furlough. There were also concerns around the stability of firms in a very difficult business climate and, because of this, worries about their own job security. Many of these candidates are unlikely to consider moving again for some time and consequently, there are a greater number of vacancies than there are qualified people to fill them. Hybrid working and career progression have taken on even greater importance alongside work life balance, state of the art technology, a compatible company culture and, as you would expect, competitive salaries.
The result of this is that candidates are attracting not only multiple offers with more competitive salaries, but also very substantial counteroffers. In some areas we can see a direct impact of the pandemic such as in employment law, due to redundancies and furlough, and in insolvency and restructuring where firms need additional support. Similarly, residential property saw an immediate fall off during lockdown, but the stamp duty holiday has made the sector incredibly busy, and it shows no sign of slowing down.
One important impact that may have a longer-term effect is the fact that the training contracts were put on hold this year. Firms will need to be planning ahead as there will be a skills shortage in the future due to lack of trainees solicitors qualifying in 2020 and 2021.