With the significant post-GFC changes in employment trends in the legal industry, an increasing number of positions are now contract-based. We ask recruitment expert, Paul Cowling, the NSW state manager at Randstad Legal, for advice for junior lawyers who may have been recently made redundant, on whether accepting the offer of contract position in a similar area of law will have an impact on their CV.
One significant impact of the global financial [GFC] crisis and the reality of the post-GFC landscape on the legal profession has been the trend of employers increasingly considering the option of employing lawyers on a contract basis. As a result, we now see more lawyers with recent or current contract experience than we have in the past.
Consequently, the "stigma" of having contract positions on your CV has considerably reduced or even, in large part, disappeared. In fact, we regularly speak to employers who view contract positions as evidence of a candidate's ability to adapt to changing environments, develop new skill-sets and gain exposure to different commercial organisations.
You should also consider the consequence of the alternative - not accepting the position and waiting for that dream permanent position to come along. There is no doubt that an ever-growing gap on the CV is likely to be viewed more negatively than having undertaken some form of relevant contract experience. Given the current climate, there are also absolutely no guarantees of securing that permanent role.
The other issue to consider is the prospect of a contract role developing into a permanent opportunity.
When an employer is impressed with the work undertaken by a contractor and is faced with the difficulty and cost of sourcing strong permanent candidates when a need arises, they will often do everything possible to retain that person even if it may not be in the exact same role.
Our advice would therefore be to accept the position - it will broaden your skill set, make you more marketable when the right permanent role arises and ensure that you are out in the market developing your knowledge, experience and contacts.