The legal talent market is currently tighter than ever. Early data from our 2023 state-of-the-market research has revealed that the proportion of lawyers actively seeking a new opportunity (those who have at least registered to receive job alerts from a job board) has fallen for the third consecutive year and now stands at just 10% (down from 40% in 2019).
For much of the last 12 months, inflation has been above 10%, making pay a key battleground in the competition for legal talent.
The challenge for law firms is that it pays to move – not only was pay the top reason lawyers left their firms this year, but legal professionals who moved jobs in the last year achieved a pay increase of 15%. In comparison, 37% of those who stayed at their firm received a pay rise of less than 5%, while 18% didn’t receive a pay rise at all. This data is supported by our survey of law firms, which found that 85% of firms increased pay by 5-10% this year.
However, what we consider to be the “market rate” is widening, as lawyers successfully command higher salaries, particularly those that fall into the highly sought-after 4-6 PQE bracket. Salary benchmarking is therefore going to be a more complicated process (although one that our specialist recruitment consultants can help with).
While paying properly is undoubtedly important, it’s just one piece of the puzzle (albeit an increasingly important one). Firms should look carefully at their whole Employer Value Proposition (EVP) to compete for talent on factors other than salary so they are more proactive and less reactive to talent market pressures.
Flexible working, manageable workloads and progression opportunities are also important priorities for lawyers. Firms that take note of this and respond by, for instance, improving the level of flexibility or home working they offer, or putting in place a solid progression framework for employees will stand a better chance of appealing to potential hires.
Because such a small proportion of lawyers are actively looking to move, once firms have refined their EVP and clearly understand what it is that sets them apart, there is a greater need for them then to clearly communicate their offering to the market.
Nine out of ten lawyers aren’t active on the jobs market and so won’t be receptive to a traditional job advert, so it’s important to find ways of reaching them elsewhere. Telling your story on your firm website, social media accounts and in the press will help to capture the interest of passive or inactive lawyers who might not be in the market for a new role but would be open to the right opportunity if it presented itself.
At Realm, we work as a brand ambassador for the firms we partner with and can work with you to produce video and written content with members of your team, to give a unique and in-depth into what it’s like to work at your firm and your Employer Value Proposition more generally.
Are you looking for help with your attraction, recruitment and retention strategy?
If you would like to learn more about how Realm can help refine your EVP and capture the interest of the best lawyers for your business, get in touch with us today. Contact Sarah Glynn, our Head of Client Experience on 03300 245 606 or email email@example.com.