Legal vacancies fall in South West as uncertainty causes lawyers to stay put

May 19, 2017

Private practice lawyer vacancies in the South West have fallen by 11% over the past year as the sector starts to suffer from uncertainty, according to a new survey.

However, the decline is less than the national picture – the data from specialist recruiter Clayton Legal shows vacancies across the UK as whole falling by 14%.

The firm says the fall in advertised positions could largely be down to lawyers not wanting to move jobs in an environment of uncertainty.

Despite the overall picture, there was a huge requirement for lawyers specialising in personal injury and employment in the South West with vacancies in these roles rising by 27%.

The survey, compiled from the recruiter’s comprehensive data on advertised roles, reveals increased demand in these areas not only reflects increased workloads but also a skills shortage caused by lawyers staying in their current positions for longer as uncertainty caused by Brexit takes hold.

Clayton Legal managing director Lynn Sedgwick said: “Almost a year has passed since the UK decided to leave the EU and while we have certainly seen lawyers being less committed to a career move, the hiring picture across the South West remains generally healthy.  

“And while there is clearly caution around Brexit, we are also seeing a change in the recruitment strategies of our clients. Many firms are hiring lawyers for newly created positions due to increased workloads instead of replacement hires that are associated with specialists moving between firms. And as Brexit becomes more of a ‘business as usual’ scenario, we’re confident the ‘wait and see’ approach will pass.”

The firm’s data also reveals the regional variations in vacancy decline. London has experienced the most acute drop with available roles down 26% year-on-year, while the North West and the South East also experienced declines – 18% and 4% respectively.

The Midlands was the only region to buck the trend – vacancy levels there remained static year-on-year.



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