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Demand for UK legal jobs rises across the country

21/08/2017
Posted by: Jamie Miller

Rewind even as little as 10 years ago and the vast majority of legal jobs were found in the capital. Let’s not be mistaken, London is certainly still the UK’s main legal hub, however in recent years the sector has spread more widely into other regions of the country. This has been partly fuelled by the concept of ‘Northshoring’ and more and more firms are choosing to relocate at least some of their services to outside of the capital. We’ve been conducting our latest review of hiring activity across the regional markets, with some interesting results - so where is demand for UK legal jobs stemming from?

North West

The North West has once again performed above expectations in terms of legal jobs, with our research showing that vacancies have risen by 36% month-on-month. Manchester and the surrounding areas is a main beneficiary of the Northshoring trend with a series of major firms now based here including Eversheds Sutherland and Addleshaw Goddard, amongst others. These firms have been on the hunt for experienced professionals which has meant that corporate associates and senior associates in particular, have been highly sought after.

Midlands

The Midlands has fared even better than the North West, recording a legal vacancy uptick of 69% month-on-month. The majority of this hiring activity has been focused on the property arena with firms seeking conveyancers, particularly in the commercial arena. According to recent reports, available office space within Birmingham and the surrounding areas is at a 10-year low, with firms keen to take advantage of the second city’s lower prices in comparison to London, which is driving a need for property specialists.

North East & Yorkshire

Property has also been the main driver of activity, or the lack of it, in the North East & Yorkshire recently.  While there was strong demand for conveyancing specialists in the first half of the year, new reports that suggest that this region – along with London – has experienced the slowest increases in property prices which has forced firms to hold back on hiring until the market improves. However, legal professionals with experience of working in the family and private law arena have been highly sought after.

London

Along similar lines, London has also been hit hard by the stalling property arena, however this has been negated by the growing need for administrative assistants and specialists. Many firms have experienced an uptick in workloads as clients ask them to map the post-Brexit market, which in turn has meant employers have been on the hunt for legal back-office professionals, who have contributed to the huge rise in demand seen over the past two months.

South East

The UK legal jobs market has been most active within the south east in recent months. It has seen a huge boom in demand for conveyancing and other property experts. Commentators suggest that this growth is down to the staggeringly high cost of buying property in London. This forces potential buyers out to the surrounding areas like Essex and Hertfordshire and firms in this region have been sourcing property expertise to help manage the increased workloads they’re now facing.

Wales

Demand for legal professionals in Wales has mainly focused on litigation and crime specialists, with higher court advocates particularly sought after. Unfortunately this trend isn’t driven by anything positive, but instead a rise in violent crime which has caused an increase in arrests and prosecutions. However, while this certainly isn’t good news, it does mean that legal specialists are highly sought after across Wales, but particularly in the south.

The brunt of legal activity is no longer focused on London and UK based legal jobs have spread further across the country, with areas like the North West and the Midlands now true legal employment hotspots. If you’re looking for your next regional opportunity – or are looking for a role in the capital – then speak to our expert team to find out how we can help.

Take a look at some our other blogs to learn more about regional employment trends within the legal sector.

Or take a look at our current roles to find your next game-changing legal role.

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