As the new year begins, law firms are still reeling from a skilled worker shortage brought on by a strong economy, the lasting effects of pandemic layoffs, and the great resignation. In May 2021, there were 8,268 open positions for lawyers across the United States, a 150% increase from early 2020. This is not surprising when reports of mass resignations are paired with increased corporate demand for legal services.
The result of the trends catalyzed by the global pandemic is that 2022 will continue to be an applicant’s job market. Firms need to use their hiring budget to develop employee-friendly characteristics, like flexible work schedules, to attract qualified employees.
Law firms also need to invest in technology that supports hybrid working models. If companies can implement successful hiring changes, there is significant potential for business growth.
Demand for legal services is high, and the job market requires firms to invest in new hire recruitment. Learn the 2022 hiring trends and how to get the best talent for your firm.
Candidate Driven Market
Applicants have the advantage in a job market when there are a lot of available openings. Since workers are not threatened by the prospect of a long job search, they are willing to leave their job for another one. 2021 saw significant increases in employee turnover in professional services, with quitting rates per month increasing from 2.9% in 2020 to 3.7% in 2021.
At the same time workers were leaving their jobs, the demand for legal services was at a record high, resulting in the few applicants applying for positions vying for higher salaries.
There were more mergers and acquisitions in the first half of 2021 than in the past 20 years. In addition, the pandemic created a backlog of cases that firms have started to work through as courts open in-person hearings and make virtual hearings more efficient.
Emphasis on Valuing Employees and Accommodating Their Needs
If law firms want to maintain or expand their client pool in 2022, they need to stand out to potential employees by putting them first. The candidate-driven job market affords candidates too many opportunities for firms to offer average job packages and expect them to come on board.
Firms need to accommodate the new job ideal that most young professionals seek. It is characterized by improved employee experience via company culture and work flexibility. Job seekers will assess their employment options based on the company culture and whether the working environment benefits them emotionally, mentally, and physically.
Create and Support a Strong Employer Value Proposition (EVP)
Employer Value Proposition (EVP) is the promise you make to legal talent about what your firm and the job offers. A strong EVP includes more than pay, benefits, and training. An EVP that works as a recruitment tool also lists company culture distinctions, the job’s role in the company’s goals, and the differences between your firm and the competition.
Writing a compelling EVP is one thing, but your firm has to support your EVP for top talent to sign on and stick with you. Consequently, firms invest more in recruitment packages and employee retention services like flexible working arrangements.
The recent shift to at-home work uncovered the potential for workplace flexibility, and workers want this to continue. 84% of workers want the option to work from home, so a firm without a remote work option is at a hiring disadvantage.
The most attractive firms for current candidates invest in quality training that allows employees to work successfully in the office, remotely, or in a hybrid model where they work from home a few days a week.
Firms with freelance opportunities also expand their candidate pool by attracting applicants who don’t want to be tied down to a single company or position.
Technology’s Role in Hiring and Retention
AI or automated computer systems are gaining prevalence in the legal industry because they make firms more efficient, are compatible with remote work, and improve the client transfer process. As lawyers find new jobs and bring clients with them, it is more important than ever to have efficient client transfers.
AI client transfer systems remove manual steps, like document accumulation, so that a firm’s attorneys can focus on billable work rather than clerical work. The AI systems also afford new hires the flexibility to work at home because their client transfers no longer require effective communication and collaboration with the client and new firm.
Connect with Candidates at Collier Legal Search
2022 has the potential to bring significant growth to law firms and provide workers with jobs offering lucrative benefits. The hiring trends are based on candidates having the upper hand in the labor market, so if firms want to capitalize on the growing demand for legal services, they need to offer significant perks to candidates.
Firms can use the legal staffing recruitment services that Collier Legal Search provides to connect with the best legal talent for their open positions. Collier Legal Search has 17 years of legal placement experience and can quickly fill your firm’s temporary or permanent openings. Contact us today with any questions about our placement services.