Here we are again - January and the holiday season over. No doubt many of us are reading supposedly inspirational and life changing books, blogs or indeed trawling the internet including the job sites, as we try and make some changes to our lives for 2018. The New Year is a perfect time for making a fresh start and improvements to our busy lives. While most aspire to better health, a dry January, or even resolving finances, some look for a change in job or career. Many lawyers are amongst those who decide enough is enough and decide they have nothing to lose and a lot to possibly gain by exploring the job market. Like divorce lawyers, after the decorations are down and the Christmas hangover over, here at Chadwick Nott we get a lot of calls for assistance!
In this often dreaded month, one in five of the UK’s workforce are actively looking for a new job and nearly half (47%) are planning a career move (source - Investors in People). In legal recruitment, candidates are usually looking for a long term move and aiming for the January feeling of a fresh start and clean slate, but often aspiring for a bigger salary and a nice new boss. As ever in life, the reality is sadly never that easy and most career moves require time and effort.
If you are seduced by the lure of the 'New Year, New You' or just want to make some straightforward changes to your job situation, talking things through with an experienced and established recruiter is an excellent place to start. Many people need help in understanding the exciting opportunities and realistic options that are out there. You may need some ‘hand holding’ or a push in the right direction to get you rolling?!
There are a few things to bear in mind:
• A good place to start would be 'thinking ahead'. It sounds so simple yet this applies to lawyers at all stages of their career from paralegal to partner. Look ahead and think where you would like to be in 5 years’ time. Things don’t always pan out how you want them to, certainly not in the legal sector, however, it’s important to have a focused plan. Even for those in law school, this is essential as law firms still look at grades and experience from as far back as university.
• Resilience and tenacity are key. The legal market is tough, possibly tougher now than it has ever been. Expectations are high and the interview process at any level can be a stressful time, whilst also carrying a great deal of responsibility. Competition is now more intense that it has ever been. Overall, it’s important to be calm and welcome/use any interview feedback to improve or fine-tune your interview skills.
• Don’t be afraid to speak out! This isn’t a problem for many lawyers! But as a recruiter, it’s invaluable to know EXACTLY what you want so we can really help most effectively.
So why do people want a fresh start in the New Year? Is there a lack of incentives, career progression and support, work/life balance or general wellbeing in the workplace? From what I’ve seen in my years as a recruiter, I would say there are often many of the above in law firms. The good news is that the legal profession, although still very traditional in some ways, is now more than ever, becoming more open to change. The commercial reality is that it has to be. Day after day, here at Chadwick Nott, we ask our candidates why they are looking to leave their jobs, and work/life balance and career progression fall amongst the top reasons.
Like all professions there are firms that are evolving quicker and being more proactive in their approach to staff development and welfare. Many lawyers are pushing for
better incentives (for example, bonuses, gym memberships and other more novel perks) as well as transparent career progression and support. Lack of career development and new challenges are always significant drivers for lawyers to start a job search. Based on this, we are seeing law firms reconsidering their support networks and offering more training to help people improve skills and remain positively challenged in their roles.
If you have brought in the New Year with the view to being a ‘New You’, then at Chadwick Nott we are here to help and have our excellent contacts, market knowledge and experienced recruiter skills at the ready!
Emily Oakes has over 4 years of recruitment experience and works in our London and International team.
0203 096 4566