The number of new job openings for executive managers within the legal profession increased by 54.8% in the year to 31st August 2017, according to the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo). This is despite the fact that overall vacancies within the sector rose by just 1.8% during the same period. Demand for practicing lawyers, meanwhile, dipped by 4.4%.
While new openings for lawyers specialising in family law increased by 27.9%, demand for personal injury lawyers, corporate specialists and real estate lawyers all decreased (by 14.1%, 13.5% and 9% respectively).
Elsewhere, demand for marketers and PR professionals to work within the sector increased by 18.8% while new openings for HR professionals rose by 23.6%.
Geographically, jobs growth was strongest in the North East of England where legal vacancies were up 36.4% during the 12 months to August 2017. There was also solid growth across the North West and South East, where vacancies rose by 13.9% and 13.1% respectively. Overall legal vacancies in Greater London dipped by 2.4% over the same period.
Ann Swain, chief executive of APSCo, commented on the report saying:
“The legal sector continues to show positive signs of strength, but as these figures demonstrate, organisational structures within the profession are shifting, and this is having a notable impact on demand for talent.”
“The advent of external investment and ownership which came with the introduction of alternative business structures in 2012 marked the start of a new wave of commercial awareness within the sector which continues to evolve. Today, this is evident in a boom in demand for managers, marketing professionals and HR leaders as firms focus on expansion through smart business structuring and astute business development strategies.”
“The fact that jobs growth is also increasing rapidly outside of the capital is also indicative of this shifting tide. Aside from the fact that an increasing number of businesses are ‘north-shoring’ operations, technological advancements also mean that law firms no longer have to be on the doorstep of their client base. This has spurred an increase in practices which set up shop where overheads are cheaper so that they can offer competitive rates to clients with which they communicate with virtually. This model relies on volume, slick systems and processes, and business acumen, which is reflected in the roles our members are placing.”