Recruitment update: Which practice areas are in hot demand?

by Mackenzie McCarty11 Jun 2014
Predictions earlier this year that boutique and mid-size firms would be boosting recruitment rates appear to be coming true, according to the 2014 Hays Salary Guide, with the future looking especially bright for lawyers with particular areas of expertise.

Back in February, Hays senior manager, corporate divisions, Aurelie Le Gall, told NZ Lawyer that mid-size firms were especially keen to take on additional staff in 2014.

“With medium-size firms, we’ve really seen a significant increase in activity over the last six months and that’s really accelerated, particularly in the last three,” said Le Gall. “The outlook for 2014 is very, very strong, particularly within the medium-size law firms.”

The recruitment organisation’s new report, released this month, shows vacancies at medium-size and boutique firms have indeed become available as a result of the replacement of staff, as well as newly-created roles.

“Some firms looked to rebuild and develop their teams after a holding pattern while others sought experienced practitioners with a client base in order to grow their practice,” reads the report.

However, there is currently a gap between the level of experience candidates in New Zealand have and what employers require, meaning vacancies are remaining open for a “considerable” amount of time.

Lawyers specialising in commercial property and litigation are in hot demand, particularly those with strong corporate commercial experience. There is also a shortage of experienced banking and finance solicitors.

Furthermore, the traditional top picks for New Zealand lawyers wanting overseas experience, including London, the Channel Islands, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Middle East, are continuing their push for recruits.

“There is growing demand for lawyers with language skills and local qualifications, as well as experience,” reads the report.

Finally, candidates for legal jobs appear to be changing focus as the job market improves.

“Candidates are very aware of current market conditions and therefore that their job search may take time. Many still cite work-life balance and flexibility as important factors when moving jobs. There are still a large number of graduates and recently admitted solicitors seeking employment.”