The candidate is king – finance hiring trends in the legal sector
As we move into the second half of the year, the market continues to favour candidates in the middle to senior bracket within law firms.
Throughout the year so far, the shift to a candidate driven market has resulted in the number of vacancies increasing and the available candidate talent pool shrinking. Law firms have therefore had to look closely at rewards and salaries and to increase the speed of their recruitment process in order to secure candidates.
Senior Pricing Analysts
One role where this has been the most evident is that of the senior pricing hire. As firms seek to introduce strategies to increase profitability, they have begun to introduce pricing as a distinct role within the finance department, resulting in a number of new roles being generated in a short space of time.
In London, the candidate pool hasn’t been large enough to support this increase, and movement within it has been limited; incumbents are challenged, well rewarded and generally happy with their lot.
A creative approach is required to plug this gap, and Boston Hale has been steadily building a network of experienced senior pricing professionals to draw from, leaving no stone unturned. For example, one initiative we’ve introduced is to look at markets abroad where the pricing model is well established and the candidate pool is therefore larger.
We’ve been talking to companies about introducing sponsorships to attract overseas talent, as well as advising them to invest in their employer brand to stand out and differentiate themselves in a competitive landscape. Other initiatives are also starting to reap rewards as we aim to become a leading force in the provision of senior pricing positions.
Streamline to act fast
But it’s not just in the area of pricing that talent is scarce. All areas of commercial finance are seeing increased demand in the middle – senior bracket.
Gone are the days when law firms can take their time deliberating over which of a number of highly suitable candidates they will offer! Yet some haven’t grasped this, and we’ve witnessed instances where hiring firms have failed to secure their preferred candidates simply because they haven’t acted quickly enough. In a competitive market, the recruitment process needs to be as lean as possible, with all involved making sure that time is set aside to help speed it along.
Advice for candidates
Firmly in the driving seat, candidates looking to move in the current market can be extremely selective. We’d advise looking carefully at the strategic direction of potential employers, and how that translates into future career opportunities. ‘Nice to have’s are being elevated to must haves, as hiring firms up the ante to attract and retain high calibre, experienced legal finance professionals. Consider what the most important aspects of a role are for you, and be bullish when negotiating.
Momentum is unlikely to swing away from the candidate this year, particularly in the area of pricing. Hiring firms need to do all they can to create a competitive advantage if they wish to secure the best talent available.
Expertise and focus in the legal sector, our strong reputation in the market, the extensive network of talent that we have developed and our desire to achieve positive outcomes for all customers puts us in top spot for many professionals and hiring firms when it comes to building out their teams.
If you would like to discuss any points we’ve raised here, please do get in touch.
Luc Baldwin – Senior Consultant