Take a leaf from the market leaders and ‘Hire for Desire’
10 May 2022 by Stuart John
It will come as no surprise to state that, despite the number of external influences and ‘goings-on’ in the local legal market we continue to experience a high level of demand for qualified solicitors. Nearly all firms, across a range of disciplines seek to hire talent to meet the increasing level of business demands. However, supply of this talent is far outweighed by demand, how can this imbalance be addressed? What change is needed?
20 years of recruiting has taught me this…
Working within the NI recruitment space, I’ve been fortunate enough (or unfortunate enough – depending on which way you view it!) to have worked through some of the most challenging and character-building times within the recruitment industry – e.g. The Great Recession, The financial crisis, high demand/low supply, high supply/low demand.
One thing is for sure is that challenging times require change. Whether it’s a change of business activity, a change of focus or a change of mindset. As they say, the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”
Thankfully, I’m not alone in my opinion and assessment above, a high number of our legal clients have really embraced ‘change’ over the past 12-24 months, some change born of necessity, some as they seek to meet the rising challenges of talent attraction, engagement and retention. In my opinion, a certain cohort of clients (both lnternational firms and local entities) are knocking it out of the park!
Companies Hiring for “Will” not just “Skill”
Of course, employers will always maintain an interest in those candidates that offer relevant and suitable experience, that’s a given. That said, one of the most recent refreshing changes is a shift in the mindset of a number of high calibre, market leading hirers being far more open-minded when recruiting. Regular conversations with hiring managers, HR contacts and recruitment personnel highlight that employers are now placing just as much emphasis, (in some instances, more) on assessing the ‘will’ not just the ‘skill’ of their applicants.
This is great news for all parties. With current demands high across Corporate, Funds, Commercial Contracts, Real Estate, Banking & Finance, Disputes…. (I could go on). Now is a good time for ambitious solicitors that have an interest in these demand areas, an increasing amount of employers are happy to engage with those that are keen on diversifying their experience and considering other areas of law.
Ignore the cynics!
The cynics may say that this approach is ‘born out of necessity’? But, for what it’s worth, my view is that this is long overdue and sensible. Having monitored the ebb and flow of this market segment for more than two decades, I believe that this is a more lateral and ‘bigger picture’ approach to recruitment which will widen the talent pool, increase skill levels and help control spiralling wage costs.
To discuss this article and more – current demands, salary trends and the NI legal landscape, contact Stuart John on +28 9538 0606
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