Despite a forecast that the recruitment market for lawyers would remain frozen for all of 2009, cracks in the ice are starting to appear, writes Kathryn Parry.
In recent months there has been talk in the media of a market recovery and an end to the GFC and there is no doubt that things are certainly looking up in recruitment, too. The redundancies that dominated the headlines earlier in the year have slowed - almost to a halt - and we have seen recruitment strategies for 2010 being made that include budgets for growth hires.
Firms have begun to look to the market and have started considering candidates speculatively for their traditionally strong practice groups. Recruitment freezes have begun to thaw and we are beginning to see some movement with candidates starting to dip their toes into the recruitment pool.
Larger firms who had forecast that recruitment would cease completely in 2009 have started hiring. Albeit slowly, hiring is occurring in the areas that we would have thought most unlikely if we had peered into the looking glass six months ago, with vacancies in corporate, property and banking recently announced.
We have also seen a massive surge of insurance positions, a traditional downturn stalwart. Insurance vacancies have increased dramatically in the last eight weeks, with some firms having multiple vacancies across their insurance divisions. However with the bar still set high by firms, unsurprisingly there is still a shortage of candidates.
Unusually, aside from the increase in insurance roles, the practice areas typically associated with an economic downturn have been the slowest to have resurgence. The large number of insolvency positions that were predicted have not yet fully eventuated, neither has the litigation boom occurred - but no doubt both areas will see some growth in the final quarter of 2009, with new vacancies announced on a daily basis.
Kathryn Parry is a consultant at Taylor Root.