The legal profession is demonstrating a high level of optimism when it comes to the 2011 job market, according to a new employee intentions report.
The majority of white collar professionals surveyed for the December 2010 Michael Page Employee Intentions Report are optimistic about the job market outlook, with 52 per cent predicting that employment conditions will improve next year.
The highest level of optimism was evident amongst the legal profession, with 72 per cent of those surveyed demonstrating confidence about the 2011 job market.
"Hiring volumes in the legal profession are heavily dependant on the commercial activity and legal requirements of the general market, so increasing business confidence in 2011 will positively influence recruitment in this sector," the report says.
Despite ongoing caution about the strength of the economic recovery, the report says hiring confidence has generally returned to the market, with business activity expected to increase further in 2011 in response to consistently improving economic conditions.
"Employers are investing in their teams again to secure business critical skills, before the job market tightens."
With increasing confidence amongst employees about their career prospects, many will be asking for pay rises in 2011, placing upward pressure on salary levels and testing the effectiveness of retention strategies in the first half of the year.
"This level of potential staff movement will make retention a crucial business challenge in the early part of 2011," the report says.
The majority of the legal profession places career progression at the top of their priority list, but a salary increase is also a main concern. According to the report, most expect a 10 to 12 per cent increase to come with a change in job.
"Although a degree of caution exists with respect to job security, employees are far more confident about changing jobs in order to improve their level of income," the report says. "Given the challenges involved in taking a role with a new firm, salary expectations are typically higher than they would be with the current employer."
For those choosing to remain in their current role, the majority will be asking their current employer for a salary increase within the next six months.
"Companies that cannot meet salary expectations will need to ensure they have strong alternative strategies in place to retain expectant employees."