IN-HOUSE DEMAND AND WORK VARIETY TRANSFORMING LEGAL ROLES
Written on the 13 October 2016 by Lin Evlin
IN ITS latest Legal Quarterly Report, Hays Specialist Recruitment reveals that lawyers are increasingly seeking more diverse work opportunity, and they're seeking it outside of the traditional practice.
The report has shown in-house legal work to be a role of choice, with key considerations being better work-life balance and variety of tasks.
Managing director of Hays Darren Buchanan sat down with Brisbane Legal to talk these latest industry trends.
In-house on the up and up
The Hays report found that demand for in-house roles is becoming more competitive, as companies are seeing higher volumes of applicants for these opportunities, irrespective of whether the job is permanent or temporary.
Buchanan says one of the major factors at play here is that lawyers are seeking a better work-life balance.
"Australians work long hours, this is well-documented," says Buchanan.
"Australians work some of the longest hours of the Western world.
"I think there is belief or a perception that working in-house offers greater flexibility and the hours are more in line with a typical 9-5 job or a typical desk job as opposed to private practice where there can be a lot more out of hours' work required."
While the demand for in-house roles is high, Buchanan says there are relatively limited positions available in the legal market due to low staff turnover.
"There tends to be relatively low staff turnover compared to private practice. Therefore, there aren't as many jobs in in-house out there," he says.
From the perspective of companies, Buchanan believes that demand for in-house lawyers also continues to grow.
"For companies, having in-house lawyers means that (these lawyers) have a greater understanding of the business and how it operates. This sort of understanding is more difficult to convey to an external legal practice," says Buchanan.
"When a lawyer works in-house, they are part of the brand. They understand the nuances of the business, how it operates and its challenges, so a lot of companies are keeping things in-house."
Progression and challenging work are on the menu
Now more than ever, Buchanan says that when candidates are looking to make a move, they are likely seeking career progression and more diverse work.
"Highest on the agenda is career progression and career opportunities. In Australia, there is a huge burst of knowledge advancement and knowledge growth," he says.
"People are more inclined, rather than just learning one thing, they want to learn about either different facets of that one thing or a number of different things.
"They want to be challenged. They don't want to do a 9-5 monotonous job. Once upon a time many years ago it was just accepted that that was how it was.
"Nowadays people want more than that, they want progression, they want variety and they want challenges."
Another recent Hays survey of the general job market in Australia found that of 8,654 respondents, 55 per cent indicated they were prepared to drop their salaries in order to have the flexibility to work from home.
"I think what we are seeing is that there is still a lot of enthusiasm in the workforce but, by and large, what people are looking for is work-life balance which can take a number of forms," says Buchanan.