Articles From the Team

2014 In-house Recruitment Market Update – Job seekers gaining a stronger bargaining position

Although we are only three months into 2014, BCL Legal has already seen a clear shift in the job seeker / employer relationship. Following an improvement in economic conditions, improved business and lawyer ‘candidate’ confidence, increases in wages, and changes in regulations, we are increasingly seeing a shift from an employer-driven market to a job seeker-driven market. Good talent is scarce and its increasingly in demand. Thus, niche and specialist lawyers, such as those working in Compliance, Competition and Data Protection Law; and top talent in core in-house legal disciplines, such as commercial contracts, IT and IP law, now find themselves in a stronger bargaining position.

The group in the strongest position right now are the 2-6 years’ PQE Commercial/IT Solicitors. With demand from both in-house and private practice employers on the up, in response to increased business activity, and because of a lack of talent due to smaller numbers of commercial solicitors being trained during the downturn, employers who want top talent are now faced with a situation where lawyer candidates increasingly have multiple recruitment processes running and their existing employers are keen to retain their services. Consequently, slow recruitment processes, trying to get lawyers on the cheap, counter-offers, and a lack of incentive to move – due to new jobs not offering sufficient pay and benefits - are resulting in more job offers being turned down and more jobs going unfilled.

The switch in the employer / job seeker dynamic is encouraging and does hint at a strengthening of the economic recovery. However, employers need to react to the changes by streamlining their hiring process, offering leading pay and benefits (not just competitive), and by enlisting the help of a good recruitment consultancy – the recruiter can search their candidate/contact pool to unearth hidden talent, maintain ongoing contact with candidates/interviewees so there are no surprises, advise on other processes and counter-offers, advise on industry pay and benefits, and manage the recruitment and offer process.

As the economic situation improves the candidate position will strengthen so employers needs to recognise this change and adapt their processes and benefits to the new reality. As a leading legal recruitment consultancy, BCL Legal has the expertise and know-how to assist you throughout the employment cycle. For more information please contact Craig Wilson or call us on: 0845 241 0933 or via

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