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Salary Survey: What next on the career path?

Written by: The Lawyer
Published on: 14 Jun 2015

    Despite dissatisfaction with pay among many, the vast majority of lawyers – 93.4 per cent – are happy in their current practice area, and relatively few want to leave the profession.

    Asked where they would like to go for their next job, only 6.1 per cent said they wanted to leave the legal profession entirely. Just over a third of respondents wanted to work in-house next, while a broadly similar number wanted to be in private practice.

    Of those lawyers already working outside private practice, few regretted it. Some 79.7 per cent of in-house lawyers wanted to remain where they were, while only 4.6 per cent expressed a desire to move into private practice.

    Magic circle lawyers are least interested in a career in-house. Only 12.3 per cent of magic circle lawyers wanted an in-house role next, compared with 20.9 per cent of lawyers at other large London firms.

    Broken down by region, lawyers in the South East (excluding London) were by far the most interested in working in-house; 44.7 per cent wanted their next job to be an in-house one, which was well above the national average of 33.8 per cent. By contrast, in the North West, South West, and East Anglia, the proportion of lawyers looking in-house for their next role was more like 25 per cent.

    The public sector is not seen as an attractive option, even among lawyers already working in the area. Only 28.6 per cent of public sector lawyers wanted to remain there in their next role, with 22.7 eyeing up an in-house position and 9.4 per cent thinking about moving into private practice. Nearly 8 per cent of public sector lawyers wanted to leave the legal profession, while almost a third had given little or no consideration to where their next role would be.

    Men were more likely than women to want to work in private practice in their next role, while women were slightly more likely to be interested in working in-house or the public sector, or to want to leave the law. However, the difference between the genders is minimal here.

    In total, 17 per cent of respondents to the survey were looking in earnest for a new position, as opposed to casually browsing the job market. Of this 17 per cent, the majority were attempting to leave their current role in search of a better salary. Over two-thirds cited more money as a reason for their job hunt.

    For just over half, lack of opportunities in their current workplace was a motivating factor, while 45 per cent simply wanted a new challenge.

    The rise of LinkedIn as a job search tool was reflected in the fact that it was the fourth-most cited method of job-hunting (after recruitment consultancies, legal jobs websites and headhunters). Nearly half the survey respondents said they would use LinkedIn in their job hunt (compared with just 3 per cent who cited Twitter). However, only 5 per cent of respondents said LinkedIn was their most important method of job searching – recruitment consultancies and law-specific jobs websites still hold sway.

    Despite the fact that 96 per cent of all respondents said they experienced some level of stress in their job, only 21 per cent of those actively searching for a new job said they wanted to leave their current workplace because of stress or internal conflict, and only a quarter said they wanted to go somewhere else to get a better work-life balance. One in four also said their current manager or colleagues were a motivation for them wanting to leave.

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