Regulatory pressure drives rise in legal recruitment

Legal job opportunities on the rise

The number of legal vacancies advertised across the UK has grown by 48% in the third quarter of 2015 compared to the same time last year. 


A combination of pressure from regulators on banking and financial institutions and expansion among private practice firms has caused demand for legal professionals to spike.

The figures, taken from the latest Robert Walters UK Jobs Index, show that demand for legal professionals saw the largest growth in London and the South East (59%), closely followed by the North West (55%), with more modest growth in the Midlands (5%). 

“The latest jobs figures for the UK are extremely encouraging for legal professionals, and reflect the demand we have seen from clients over the last quarter," said Sam Walters, Associate Director - legal recruitment. 

Key skills in demand

"In banking and financial services, the increases in pressure from regulators, coupled with more positive sentiment, has seen demand for transactional and regulatory lawyers become particularly prominent. In private practice, lawyers specialising in real estate, corporate and project finance has been especially sought after,” continued Sam.

Growth in North West

The significant increase in demand for legal professionals in the North West has been at least partly fuelled by financial institutions choosing to relocate their mid and back office functions to the region. 

With compliance functions for many of these employers relocating to Manchester and the surrounding area, the need for legal specialists has significantly increased.

Flexible recruitment strategies

In the high-demand market, employers are frequently struggling to source candidates, and we have seen firms beginning to adopt more flexible strategies and criteria for recruitment in light of this shift. A combination of pressure from regulators on banking and financial institutions and expansion among private practice firms has caused demand for legal professionals to spike.

"In addition to driving up salaries for certain specialist roles, some employers are also adapting their working culture to broaden their appeal to candidates, with flexible working policies in particular being adopted in an effort to source mid-level and junior professionals,” Sam said.

About the UK Job Index

The Robert Walters UK Job Index tracks job advertisement volumes over leading job boards across the UK in sectors such as accounting and finance, legal, human resources, marketing, treasury, supply chain and secretarial and support. 

Released on a quarterly basis, the report provides an indicative summary of recruitment activity being experienced across major national markets as well as key industry comparisons.

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