AS THE SHOCK of the recent terrorist bombings in London reverberated through the legal community, Australian legal recruiters struggling to cater to market growth are hoping to lure New Zealand lawyers wanting overseas work experience to their seemingly safer shores.
“With events around the world resulting in at least some lawyers shelving plans to work further afield, Australia represents an exciting career option,” said Alex Neskes, manager for private practice at Mahlab Recruitment.
The release of the results of the Mahlab Survey 2005 on 15 July prompted Neskes to comment on the implications of the Australian talent shortage for the New Zealand legal market.
“The survey confirms a growing market for lawyers in Australia, with salaries increasing yet again and many firms demonstrating a focus on offering a range of benefits, including bonuses, to high performers,” Neskes said.
“Responses to this year’s survey also revealed a significant candidate shortage, suggesting that this is an ideal time for New Zealand lawyers to make their move into the Australian market.”
Neskes said that many Australian firms have expressed a specific interest in employing lawyers from the New Zealand market. “Practice areas of prime interest include corporate, banking and finance, infrastructure and construction, mergers and acquisitions, superannuation and funds management,” she said.
While lawyers with two to five years experience are in highest demand, “the current market suggests that opportunities for New Zealand-trained lawyers at the more senior end of the market are also opening up”.
With the strength of the international market continuing to generate career opportunities for first class Australian and New Zealand lawyers, candidate shortage was one of the most significant factors pushing salaries up this year across the Tasman, with demand for candidates outstripping supply in a number of areas.
The Australian legal recruitment market was “particularly busy” in the last 12 months, the survey said, with firms and corporate employers actively recruiting lawyers to manage increased workloads and to fill vacancies created by lawyers exploring alternative career options, both locally and overseas. “The sustained level of interest by international firms in Australian and New Zealand lawyers has resulted in a flow of lawyers offshore and has contributed to the frequently discussed ‘talent shortage’,” the survey said.
Andrea Ruffell is the Editor of NZ Lawyer, Lawyers Weekly’s sister publication.