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07 December 2015

• Over half (52%) of legal employees planning to move jobs within the year
• Lack of future opportunities top reason (32%), apart from salary (33%), for wanting to move jobs and almost half (45%) see no scope for career progression in their current role
• 25% of legal employees view work life balance as most important factor when looking for a new job

New research from Hays Legal reveals that over half (52%) of legal employees are planning to move jobs in 2016 and almost a third (32%) are doing so in search of better future career opportunities. The Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2016 report, which includes survey results from almost 500 legal employers and employees, shows confidence is high in the industry with over two thirds (69%) of legal employers expecting business activity to increase and three quarters (75%) planning to recruit staff in the next year.

Almost three quarters (74%) of employers state a shortage of suitable applicants followed by competition from other employers (45%) will be their biggest challenge when recruiting over the next 12 months, highlighting the continued competition for skills.

The research shows that if employers are to attract and retain the best in a time of increased competition they will need to pay closer attention to what their employees are looking for in their work and careers. Almost a third (32%) of employees cited their top motivation for wanting to move jobs as a lack of future opportunities in their current role, higher than the UK average of 25%, showing a high level of dissatisfaction with their current prospects.
Aside from salary the most important factors for employees when considering a new role were career development (33%) followed by work life balance (25%). Despite this only 14% of employers believe work life balance is important when attracting staff.

Greater flexibility continues to be a priority for legal professionals, as over two fifths (43%) of legal employees said their work life balance was average or below average, while flexible working was the second most important employee benefit (60%) sought after by legal professionals. The most important benefit for legal professionals was over 25 days annual leave (67%), which further highlights that work life balance is a priority for employees. 

Ian Barker, Director at Hays Legal commented:
"With levels of business activity expected to increase in the next year, now is the time for organisations to start looking at how they are going to attract and retain the best talent in order to succeed in the future. Our findings show that a lack of future opportunities and salary and benefits were closely matched as reasons for why employees were moving jobs, highlighting to employers that they can't have just one approach to attraction and retention.

If legal professionals are saying they want clear career paths and a better work life balance employers must recognise this. Organisations should be providing defined career paths and opportunities for staff to train and develop, which will benefit the organisation in the long term. As the war for talent increases it is those organisations who adapt their offering that will be equipped to attract and retain the best staff and therefore succeed in future."


For further press information please contact:
Yasmin Thompson
T: 0207 200 3760

About Hays UK Salary and Recruiting Trends 2016
Data compiled using data gathered during 2015 from Hays offices across the UK, based on job listings, job offers and candidate registrations. Survey responses from 20,000 employers and employees from organisations of all sizes throughout the UK.

About Hays
Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 30 June 2015 the Group employed 9,023 staff operating from 240 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2015:

– the Group reported net fees of £764.2 million and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £164.1 million;
– the Group placed around 63,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 200,000 people into temporary assignments;
– 23% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific, 41% in Continental Europe & RoW (CERoW) and 36% in the United Kingdom & Ireland;
– the temporary placement business represented 58% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 42% of net fees;
– Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA