How happy is the Legal market?

Posted in Latest News on 7 May 2024

Understanding the legal market can be complicated, but often, the best way to do it is to see how people are feeling.   

Our latest salary survey from Douglas Scott Legal Recruitment covers a whole range of areas, from salary to benefits to bonuses and more. However, one of the most obvious areas to look at is how happy the legal market is. We have some fascinating data on how happy the market is, and we think it’s worth sharing with you.   

Looking at some of the headline data, it’s clear that, generally speaking, the legal market seems to be in a good place. Nearly 60% of the legal market are either very happy or somewhat happy in their current roles, which is up on last year in 2023, it was 56%). This fits broadly in line with how satisfied people are feeling with their current salaries, current benefits and other aspects of their roles (the breakdown of these numbers is that 22% felt very happy, while 37% felt somewhat happy). At the other end of the scale, our survey found that 24% of respondents were either very unhappy or somewhat unhappy. This number was down from 2023’s figure, which found that 26% of legal professionals were unhappy. While it might be a relief for many firms to see that this figure has dropped, it still indicates that some sectors of the legal market aren’t finding satisfaction in their current roles and might be looking to make a move (again, to break this down even further, 8% are very unhappy, while 16% are somewhat unhappy). The fascinating figure, however, is the number of people who view themselves as neither happy nor unhappy. 18% of respondents put themselves in this category – precisely the same number as last year. Why this might be the case is unclear, but it’s essential to remember that this group might start slipping towards being unhappy if any issues aren’t addressed.   

All these happiness statistics, for the most part, feed directly into how likely people are to change job roles. If we compare the numbers from last year to this year again, we can see that the market might be cooling slightly despite some of the abovementioned numbers. The number of people who said they were likely to change roles was 25%, the exact figure as last year and close to those who said they were unhappy with their jobs. However, the other categories had some fascinating statistics behind them. 47% of respondents were unlikely to change roles, while 28% were undecided about whether or not to change. These numbers have shifted slightly from 2023 (31% were undecided, while 44% were unlikely to change), and it is clear that this year, people might feel more settled in their roles and less willing to change. Interestingly, some people are happy in their roles but still feel undecided about moving jobs, so they may be considering changing roles, even if they feel happy in their current role. This could, of course, be down to other factors, but it does indicate that happiness isn’t everything sometimes.  

Overall, most people still seem to be happy in their jobs. While there’s still a section of the market that isn’t happy in their roles, this group is generally looking for new roles, so they are proactively trying to find something different. However, some interesting trends in the data could point to some developments going forward that may shake things up a bit. We’ll keep you up to date on these!

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