Articles From the Team
Recruiting lawyers in Milton Keynes, particularly within the TMT sector
Milton Keynes is a growing UK town which has grown significantly over the years. It is home to a number of leading UK and international companies, many of which employ in-house lawyers, and it has some of the fastest population and job growth rates of any UK town/city.
Milton Keynes based companies are strongly focused in the automotive, engineering, manufacturing, logistics and distribution sectors, however it is also home to retailers, facilities management, property and other industry clients. It is less strong in the financial services, life sciences, technology, media & telecoms (TMT), and professional services sectors, sectors which tend to be market leading when it comes to pay and benefits. Notable companies located in MK include: DHL, Home Retail Group, Domino’s Pizza, Kuehne + Nagel, Mercedes-Benz, Network Rail, Nissan, Santander, Shanks and Volkswagen, and BCL Legal is proud to have worked with many of them.
Within the Technology, Media and Telecoms (TMT) sector, the subject of this blog, Milton Keynes has a relatively small, albeit growing presence in the sector. Companies such as Hughes Network Systems, T-Systems, SAI Global, SIS, and Unify are well established in the town, and they do employ in-house counsel. However, when compared to the Thames Valley and London regions, the MK area and its surrounds are surprisingly light on TMT companies.
For TMT employers in MK, the lack of other TMT companies locally, particularly those with in-house legal talent, is a disadvantage. There is a definite lack of talent with the requisite skills and experience, and the local law firms are typically less capable of providing the very specialist IT/Telco advice required. This lack of law firm talent/skills also limits the number of possible legal recruits that can be hired directly from firms. In short, recruiting TMT talent in MK can be a problem.
For TMT lawyer candidates, particularly those based in MK and surrounds, the relatively small number of TMT companies in the area is both an advantage and disadvantage. When an in-house TMT role becomes available, competition is likely to be reduced, certainly compared to London and the Thames Valley, increasing the chance of securing the role; however, options to move locally within the sector are reduced, and the regularity of TMT roles is also lower.
As a Fast Growing City, Milton Keynes, like Cambridge and Oxford, has a strong employment rate, strong private sector jobs growth, a large share of high skilled jobs, relatively high pay, and a high level of population growth. Milton Keynes is the UK’s 2nd fastest growing city, seeing growth of 18.1 per cent over a 10 year period. Much of this growth is due to skilled labour relocating to the area to take up jobs in the town.
Bearing in mind the relatively small pool of local TMT talent, employers in MK can often wait a long time to hire the right person, and indeed may need to offer a salary/package above the normal MK average – based on all industry sectors and law firm pay. The alternative is to self-develop suitable employees which suit their requirements. In reality, MK is in competition with towns/cities in the Thames Valley and London for TMT talent, areas where the salaries are higher and there are more TMT companies.
The final factor for MK (and other regional) employers to consider is the need to retain their existing talent pool – this is the biggest risk to businesses in the current climate, as other companies are on the look out to attract/steal good talent. Employers need to weigh up the cost of re-recruiting, possibly at a higher salary and after delay, and need to determine how they will cope should a member of the team leave the company. Working the other team members harder may not cover all the work, and indeed may cause them to begin considering their own options. Recruiting a temporary lawyer will incur costs, most likely at a higher salary level, and sending the work out to a law firm will also cost more than keeping the work in-house. Employers also need to factor in the time it takes to integrate the new lawyer into the company.