Legal industry workforce evolving to meet demand for ‘work anywhere, handle everything’ staff

The nature of work in the legal industry is changing rapidly, according to new research from specialist recruiter Robert Half and global labour market trends experts Burning Glass.

Law firms are simultaneously embracing remote working, with a 197% increase in the number of remote working job postings in the last year, and expanding the skill sets expected of candidates, including:

  • Demand for lawyers with client communication skills (+52%)
  • Demand for professionals with planning abilities (+27%)
  • Demand for legal associates with reporting/analysis expertise (+10%)

“The way we worked was already evolving before COVID-19 struck, but the pandemic has acted as an accelerator for these trends in a way we would never have expected 18 months ago,”

said Matt Weston, Managing Director of Robert Half UK.

“These findings are further proof that businesses are shifting away from outdated ideas around ‘presenteeism’ and towards more useful metrics related to productivity and output. What an employee produces is more important than where they do it, which is why businesses are increasingly comfortable with remote or hybrid working, and why demand for agile, adaptable candidates who can effectively marry strong technical capabilities with essential softer skills like interpersonal communication or building rapport necessary for working with clients and prospects.”

The Demand for Skilled Talent report also lays out the ways in which employees are pushing the move towards hybrid and flexible working, with two fifths of workers (39%) saying they plan to relocate to another country or city and continue working remotely, and almost half (49%) want to switch to a compressed four-day week in response to increased workloads over the last year. A large majority (68%) also expressed a desire to continue working from home for between one and three days a week post-pandemic.

“For hiring managers, the most important takeaway from these findings is that they need to have a full understanding of the job function and required skillset for every role in their team,”

continued Matt Weston.

“Without a clear picture of how various team members are working, and the demands being placed on them, it’s that much more difficult to develop sensible policies around remote working and training and development to maximise efficiency, productivity, and team morale.”

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