It’s that time of year again when we all start to reflect on the progression that we have made in the year, both professionally and personally. People start seeking out the top inspirational blogs and books to help them map out their New Year, and more often than not, start browsing job sites for a potential career change.
With the start of another year comes the perfect opportunity to make a fresh start and make some improvements to our busy lives. Many of us aim to improve our general health and fitness with new January gym memberships and “Dry Jan” or work towards resolving finances. Some of us also start looking to make a new career move - many lawyers are amongst those who decide it’s time for a job or career change, with nothing to lose and a lot to possibly gain by exploring the job market. After the Christmas decorations are taken down and the Hangovers have passed, Yolk Legal tends to get a lot of calls for assistance!
In this often dreaded month when the next pay slip seems to never appear, 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 the legal sector, we’ve observed candidates are usually looking for a long term move and seek for the January feeling of a clean slate, often aspiring for a higher salary and a more positive work environment. As ever in life, the reality is sadly never that easy and most career moves require time and effort.
If you are tempted by the lure of the 'New Year, New Me', or simply want to make some changes to your job situation, having a conversation with an established and experienced recruiter is an excellent place to start. Most people need assistance with finding exciting opportunities whilst targeting the most realistic options available to them at that moment. You may need a push in the right direction to help you understand what you are looking for in your next move.
As a fun fact we usually tell all candidates how many Law firms there are in England and Wales alone! As per the SRA last year, there were over 11,000 law firms, so where would you begin? There are a few things to bear in mind:
- A good place to start would be by 'planning ahead'. It sounds so simple yet this applies to legal professionals at all stages of their career, from paralegals to partners. 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. This is essential even for those in law school, 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. Competition is fierce, expectations are high and the pressure of performing well during the whole interview process can be stressful regardless of your level. Overall, it’s important to remain calm and welcome/use any feedback to improve or fine-tune your interview skills.
- Don’t be afraid to speak your mind! This isn’t usually a problem for many lawyers, but as a recruiter, it’s invaluable to know exactly what you want so we can really help effectively.
So why do people want a fresh start after New Year? Is there a lack of incentives, career progression and support, work/life balance or general wellbeing in the workplace?
From what we’ve seen in our years as recruiters, we 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 Yolk Legal, 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 are looking to bring in your “New Me” to the New Year, then Yolk Legal can help you with excellent contacts, market knowledge and experienced recruiter skills at the ready!
Why start your New Year job search with us?
Legal Associate Recruitment Consultant
02921 673 726