Legal Services skills shortage - Is flexible working the answer?

Flexible working in Legal Services

27 July 2017

We are working with Law Firms in Bristol who have all told us they have a shortage of skills and are struggling to fill key roles. Our research shows that this is an issue that is being seen across the UK. The particular shortage is for Corporate and Real Estate Lawyers, as well as other niche areas such as Tax, the gap is due to the redundancies and lack of intake of trainees in these areas during the recession.

How do law firms fill this skills shortage?

Due to the shortage it’s become a candidates market, meaning that law firms have to be competitive in order to recruit the best talent. This is a similar story across financial and professional services, we are seeing more competition in their offer, from cutting edge 'Google style’ office redevelopments with gyms and cafes, to improved pay and benefits.

Perhaps the answer is more simple, offer the candidates what they want and they’ll give employers what they want, 60% of employees say they want their employers to offer flexible working hours and 47% want the flexibility to work from home.

Flexibility could make a huge difference

We’ve suggested that a change of approach, offering more flexibility, will encourage returners from career breaks and also from early retirement, after all 1.5m are trapped in lower paid roles below their skill level in order to find the flexibility they need.

A small shift could be all that’s needed;

  • Change to working hour pattern - Later or earlier starts/finishes
  • Location - working from home on some days
  • Job sharing - Usually 2 employees working 3 days each
  • Compressed hours - 4 days weeks, 9 day fortnights

Benefits of flexible working;

There are numerous benefits of offering flexible roles:

  • Attraction of a wider talent pool and access to scarce skillsets;
  • Employee retention, including development of a more diverse senior management team;
  • Ability to meet customer demand through shifts that cover longer working hours;
  • Reduced desk and office space requirements; and
  • Ability to adapt more quickly to change.

This list isn’t exhaustive, but these benefits have evidenced links to improved staff diversity, cost savings and improvement in business performance.

If you are qualified in these areas sign up to register your interest, or get in touch so that we can talk to law firms about you!