Firms “asking staff to spend more days in the office”


Home working: Lawyers do not want to return to the office full-time

More than a fifth of legal professionals across the UK have been asked by their employers to spend more time in the office, but few want to return to it full-time, a report has found.

Researchers also found, contrary to evidence of a more static job market, that over a third of legal workers were likely to change jobs this year..

Legal recruiters G2 Legal gathered 995 responses from candidates across the UK, of whom 70% had a hybrid working routine, with two or three days spent in the office. Almost a fifth (19%) were based fully in the office with 9% fully at home.

Some 21% said their employer had requested them to spend more time in the office in the last year, with a further 9% said such a demand was coming in the next year.

Researchers commented: “This is a trend that we expect to see continue into 2024, causing a possible disparity between the needs of employers and employees.”

This was because 80% of respondents said they preferred hybrid working, compared to only 6% who wanted to be in the office every day. A bigger minority (11%) wanted to work from home all week.

Some 35% said they were “likely” to change job this year, an increase from 28% in 2023, with 40% unlikely and 25% unsure.

A third of respondents (32%) said they did not receive a salary increase last year, a slight fall on the previous year, with eight out of 10 saying they did not receive a cost of living increase.

G2 said that while 22% of the people it placed in new jobs in 2022 were in residential conveyancing, the figure fell to just 12% last year. There were similar trends in commercial property (8.2% to 5.5%), company/commercial (5% to 2.5%), and corporate (4.5% to 1.5%).

At the same time, personal injury was in demand – 14.3% of placements in 2023, up from 6.4% – while private client increased from 11% to over 15%.

Among the trends G2 forecast for 2024 were “increased opportunities for lawyers who specialise in the growing and complex areas of AI and cybersecurity”, a rise in legal roles specialising in environmental and climate change laws, as well as ESG (environmental, social and governance) reporting roles, and conveyancing picking up towards the end of the year with consumer confidence returning.

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