Here is what you need to know about the current job market and why now is the right time to consider your options
The UK has been through an unprecedented level of disruption in the last 18 months and with that has come a level of uncertainty that many of us are still coming to terms with. This not only affects our personal lives but also our professional lives too.
In the spring of 2020, many law firms were extremely worried about the future landscape and the ongoing impact of COVID-19, as well as Brexit. This in turn led to many firms predicting loss of revenue, redundancies, and a freeze on all hiring. As a result, a perception was created across the industry that for many there could not be a worse time to switch jobs, regardless of what effect this would have on their wellbeing.
Fast forward 12 months and the landscape looks quite different. Whilst the pandemic initially created several sectoral and regulatory challenges and the effects of remote working were unknown, the sector has evolved, and for many, the shift towards remote service provision has been welcomed.
Based on a recent survey completed by PWC, almost every top 100 firm (97%) outperformed their revenue expectations from the summer of 2020 and over 75% of UK law firms have reported increases in fee income. This is even better from a profit perspective with 77% of UK firms reporting an increase in profit and an average profit increase of 20%. The positive results on fee income have been accompanied by cost savings on travel, marketing and other non-essential spend.
In addition to the above, we’ve put together some of our findings below and given some context as to why it could not be a better time to consider a new role.
The end of the furlough scheme marks an important milestone in the recovery of the economy. Whilst this may not have been something that all firms utilised, we are certainly seeing a significant uplift in the number of firms hiring across the UK.
The way in which firms are recruiting is changing. One of the biggest influencers is the benefit of looking at a more geographically disparate talent pool, which would not have been an option before. This combined with further investment in both technology and the automation of processes means that law firms are thinking differently about what they can offer employees, with more focus on what this will mean for their work-life balance.
Hybrid working policies
Whilst flexibility is not a word you would often associate with the working patterns of law firms, the shift to prescribed home working during the pandemic has given way for a change in mindset for many firms. For many, it is no longer an expectation that their staff need to work in the office five days a week and although the approach from each firm and team seems to be slightly different, there is no longer a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
In the PWC law firms survey report 2021, most firms stated that they expect their staff to be in 40-60% of the time. They also acknowledged that embedding a sustainable working environment is important and is not a straightforward transition.
However, there has also been a shift in the mentality of candidates and their need for a more blended work-life balance. Like any match made in heaven, there is a need for compromise, and we have been trying hard to meet the needs of both candidates and clients to ensure they are aligned from the offset.
The market is and will remain candidate-driven for some time. This places active candidates in the driving seat and enables passive candidates to peruse their options and make decisions based on what is important to them.
Future waves and restrictions
To some it may seem inevitable that restrictions may return in the event of a new wave. With this in mind, we have been keeping a close eye on the changes in the market and speaking to our clients regularly to understand how this may affect their current workforce and their appetite to hire. Many firms have already made significant changes in their business strategy and way of working to enable their staff to thrive in the new landscape. And those who have not yet, or are on their journey, have an understanding that they must follow suit as the changes are here to stay. The conclusion being, there is a considerable shift in mindset, and firms are more eager than ever to find the talent they need.
At Birchrose Associates we place huge importance on getting to know you as a person (as well as understanding your areas of expertise), so that we can find the firm that best suits you. So, whether you are thinking of making a move or just want to understand your options, we are here to help.
Click here to have a confidential conversation with one of our consultants.
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