With a budget axe looming, Taylor Root partner Tim Fogarty asks if the current economic state of play is impacting on the legal recruitment market
The global recruitment market has been improving significantly amid wide-spread and continued concerns about the economic outlook. While the Australian press and political parties have ensured talk about our fiscal predicament remains front of mind, it seems that many of our major hirers of legal talent have been picking up quite different messages and acting accordingly.
Having been in a flat legal recruitment market in Australia for at least the last 18 months, it is clear that excellent candidates are fast becoming the prized possessions they once were. It wasn’t that long ago when firms were only too happy to breathe a sigh of relief on receipt of a resignation. The reduction of headcount numbers and ancillary costs to the firm being the main factor. Now, the recruitment machine is moving again.
What are the key factors which illustrate this point?
· International law firms have been visiting our shores to attract talent to the overseas markets;
· Lawyers who resign are now being replaced;
· The engine room practices of the big firms such as banking and corporate are now hiring. They have multiple opportunities and are hiring staff in numbers which are above and beyond pure replacement recruitment which indicates growth in staff numbers; and
· Relocation packages and sign-on bonus are returning.
Law firms who have previously relied purely on their own recruitment teams to attract talent are looking like they are going to struggle to keep up with both their own law firm demands as well as the competitive market they now find themselves in, if they want to secure the best lateral talent in the market.
The fact is, good candidates are now finding themselves in the situation of having multiple options to consider when making a move. This competitive tension will benefit the active candidate with strong credentials and reward the firm which acts quickly. Let’s hope this positivity is a long term trait because if it is, everyone will benefit.
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