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Why do in-house lawyers look for a new job?

Every year we run our annual salary survey across the UK and for 2015 we decided to include an extra question:

If you were looking for a new opportunity what would be your main reason/s for looking?

For many, this would have been a hypothetical question. In the main, we included it as organisations and their heads of legal often directly ask us for the reasons why people start thinking about making a move.
The different options that they could have chosen were:

- Higher salary/ overall package
- Lack of promotional opportunities in your current role
- Time to move on. Nothing specific, just looking to keep work ‘interesting’
- Better work/life balance
- Change in location
- Concern with stability/ growth of current team
- Concern over redundancy
- Personality clash with team/ business
- Change in sector

The survey was sent out to thousands of lawyers working in-house across six different locations: Yorkshire and the North East, the North West, the Midlands, the Home Counties (split North and South) and London.
Interestingly, the top three answers were consistent across every single location. So, why would an in-house lawyer look for a new job? Our survey says…

1. Higher salary/ overall package: 59%
2. Lack of promotional opportunities in current role: 43%
3. Time to move on to keep work interesting: 35%

When looking a little bit deeper into the numbers, the percentages (i.e. how many lawyers cited each heading as a reason for looking) were broadly speaking only a percentage point or two different… except for one question!
76% of London based in-house lawyers cited a higher salary as a reason to leave. This was 15 percentage points higher than the next highest area(s) which happened to be a tie between Yorkshire, the North West and Midlands – all at 61%.

At a guess, one reason for this might be the high cost of living in London and therefore there is a greater focus on what you earn (or can earn)!

There is much that can be inferred from other results within the survey, which I am sure I will blog about in the future. But for now… it is clear that money still talks!

For more information please contact Mark Levine or visit our website BCL Legal.

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