Alex Carpenter, Associate Director, discusses the Scotland private practice market in 2022 and market predictions for 2023...

From Alex Carpenter

Where previously many of the salaries in Scotland lagged behind their English counterparts, throughout 2022 the Scottish Legal market has seen a spike in salary increases across the internationals, nationals and regionals, with firms vying to stay competitive with each other in a fast moving market, and also coming more in line with salaries in England.  Counter-offers have become a common theme and many candidates have been bought back after receiving offers elsewhere.

However, a noticeable trend has been that 78% of candidates who have accepted a counter offer have gone on to leave anyway within 6 months. 2022 has seen candidates prioritising other things rather than just salary, such as a continuation of hybrid working and flexibility. As some firms start to reduce their hybrid working days, calling for more office time, candidates have started looking elsewhere as post pandemic flexible working has led them to prioritise a work life balance. This is a trend we anticipate to continue throughout 2023.

The competition within the market has meant that candidates often have multiple processes on the go at the same time. With candidates moving quickly, it is essential that firms keep up with the pace and move through their interview process swiftly and efficiently. We have seen delays in the interview process whereby firms have taken too long to interview, and therefore lost out on a great candidate.

The job market continued to be busy in 2022, with practice areas spiking at different points throughout the year. Contentious Construction and Property Litigation have seen a surge the past few months, while Corporate, Real Estate and Private Client areas have continuously been in demand.

In recent months, we found that that the candidate market changed from extremely active, to more people hesitating about making a move due to the uncertain economic climate.

... Clients are telling us though that their recruitment is not slowing down and will be as busy as ever in 2023. The message has been received by the market and there has been a renewed upturn in candidates now looking to make a move for the New Year.

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