New research report reveals the extent of the skills shortage in the legal Industry amidst COVID-19

New research into the extent of the skills shortage has found that 58% of organisations within the legal industry are currently feeling the strain from a lack of skilled workers.

The report, by multi-discipline recruitment specialist, Search Consultancy, also adds that on average, businesses in the industry are 18% understaffed with the average lead time to hire a suitable candidate standing at just below five months.

The full list, which ranks sectors from most to least affected by the skills shortage, is:

  • Engineering & manufacturing: 85%
  • Financial services – 84%
  • Healthcare – 84%
  • Construction – 83%
  • Call & contact centre – 75%
  • Industrial – 77%
  • Accountancy & finance  - 74%
  • Scientific – 74%
  • Social work – 74%
  • HR – 73%
  • Logistics/ procurement/supply chain – 72%
  • Business support – 71%
  • Hospitality – 68%
  • Transportation – 68%
  • Marketing - 66%
  • Legal – 58%
  • Sales – 52%

The research also looks into the causes of the skills shortage in the legal industry and the impact it is having on businesses. Of those surveyed, 36% say job cuts are the main contributing factor. A further third of managers cite a lack of qualified candidates and an inability to retain staff as a cause for concern.

As a result of the skills shortage in their industry, 42% of managers are say staff are working longer hours and are becoming disengaged, with 36% admitting to unfulfilled work. 30% of managers are also missing deadlines as they do not have the staff.

Jonathan Abell, managing director of legal at Search Consultancy, said: “The legal market has been highly candidate driven for a number of years and has very quickly returned to this since August 2020. Client demand is at peak levels for corporate, litigation and employment lawyers on the commercial side, in both practice and in house, as commerce and industry’s appetite for hiring their own legal talent continues; as well as family lawyers on the private client side; with good candidates actively looking being quite limited.. As a result of us being accustomed to working in a candidate led market we are well positioned to minimise any challenges faced by this skills shortage and still deliver to our clients..”

To support organisations impacted by the skills shortage, Search Consultancy has curated advice from business leaders within its “Mind the Skills Gap” report.

To download the report and find our more information about Search Consultancy, visit  


Back to listing