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Spare a Thought for the Legal Recruiter - An Honest Account!

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According to the Office of National Statistics, the number of UK workers currently in employment stands at a record high of 32.54 million, which equates to the lowest unemployment rate this country has seen since 1975. More jobs are being created, more roles are being filled and more recruiters are happy – unless you are recruiting for solicitors.

Recent data taken from the world’s biggest jobsite ‘Indeed’ suggests that 51.4% of all Solicitor jobs remain unfilled for 60 days or more, which is the second highest among jobs posted over the last year, only being behind Optometrists. This isn’t a ‘feel sorry for me’ plea or just evidence for my manager to get off my back, but just something which made me think of why this was.

A fascinating article by Martin Perrin in Today’s Conveyancer back in November 2018 highlights four main reasons; Technology, cyber risk, skills shortages and Brexit.

Whilst I’m sure technology and cyber-crime affect this, I’ve personally experienced firms being hesitant to commit to hiring due to Brexit and the uncertainty this causes. The impact that Brexit will have on the legal sector is another debate for a different day, but there’s no doubt that firms are concerned about it and are not fully committing, in some circumstances, to the recruitment process. Although this is probably applicable to most industries, there are around 3,600 European lawyers are regulated to practise in England and Wales, which could be a huge blow for the sector.

 Skills shortages is also very prominent and, in my opinion, the main reason for these unfilled vacancies. I can’t speak on behalf of all legal recruitment consultants, but there are a lot of solicitor vacancies out there, with a lot of firms wanting to hire. There just isn’t the number of applicably qualified candidates or the ones that are just simply aren’t looking.

I really dislike having to bring this back around to Brexit, but it has been cited to me on a number of occasions that this uncertainty that has been created has deterred legal practises from looking…. for the time being that is anyway.

I would be interested to hear other people’s perspectives on this, whether that being from another recruiter, candidates or even hiring managers!
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