The in-house market picked up in 2012, particularly within the energy and manufacturing sectors. Local authorities felt pressure to reduce their use of locums as a cost cutting exercise, and this resulted in hourly rates being driven down in the market place.
Private practice remained steady, with particular growth in commercial, corporate and commercial property at the 1-5 years PQE level, in order to replace the deficit from redundancies and team reductions made in 2008-2011.
Irwin Mitchell had their ABS status approved; they’re currently the only Midlands based firm to have embraced this change. The SRA also restructured and relocated to Birmingham city centre, providing diverse opportunities for solicitors looking for an in-house role.
The market remained extremely candidate driven at the 1-5 years PQE level across most areas of law, within both the in-house and practice markets. Firms adjusted packages to incorporate flexible working demands from employees in order to retain top talent. Buy backs were also extremely common, with employers offering salary increases of up to an extra £10k. Salary increases were also awarded through the year to employees who demonstrated outstanding performance; these were typically in the range of 3-8%.
Paralegal recruitment picked up in 2012, taking up the slack with employers putting pressure on charge out rates and creating excellent opportunities for career paralegals within top tier and international law firms.