What are the different partnership turn-offs?

Posted in Latest News on 4 Jul 2024

We recently talked here at Douglas Scott Legal Recruitment about younger lawyers being turned off from partnership positions.  

As such, we wanted to examine in more detail the factors turning young people off from partnership roles. We have some data from our salary survey that we thought was worth looking at to see if we can get to the bottom of what might be going on within this group and what the major turn-off factors are.  

For female partners, the top five factors were not wanting the stress and additional responsibilities (31%), a potential lack of a work/life balance (18%), a prohibitive firm structure (16%), no interest in more senior roles (13%) and the so-called ‘glass ceiling’ (10%). It’s perhaps surprising that the glass ceiling isn’t higher: after all, there are concerns about the law having a perceived lack of equality regarding gender. However, this falls into fifth place, with problems like stress and a work/life balance being much higher; it gives the impression that any concerns about a traditional gender balance aren’t the major contributing factors behind women not taking that leap to the next level.  

As for male partners, the five main factors for them were a prohibitive firm structure (21%), not wanting the stress and additional responsibilities (18%), the ‘glass ceiling’ (16%), lack of work/life balance (16%) and no interest in more senior roles (14%). Surprisingly, the ‘glass ceiling’ is a higher off-putting factor for men than for women, when, traditionally, men might be seen to have benefitted from it. The structure of a firm was the main issue for this group, like for women, this group also felt that stress concerns were a significant factor behind not wanting to take on a higher position.  

While there are concerns about how off-putting the senior ranks of law are towards some people, many are still looking to reach those top ranks. 62% of respondents felt they could reach that level, with 60% of female and 70% of male respondents looking to get there during their careers. So, whether these factors will be ongoing concerns or just a snapshot of a slightly more static moment in time remains to be seen. It will be interesting to see whether these concerns have a broader impact on the legal market in the future. 

Share this post