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Start as you mean to go on

Friday, 24 January 2014

Well we all had a nice break over the Christmas period, but there really is no rest in the world of recruitment especially when everyone takes that Christmas break to figure out their next career steps and companies decide to restructure teams to start fresh for the new year.

The employment law market has seen a change in the tide as firms have started to look for the two ends of the spectrum, either those who are newly qualified or for highly experienced employment partners.  Given it has been so quiet in the employment market, it is a very welcome peak for those who qualified in March and September 2013. We have seen an influx of 10 separate new employment roles in January alone for both UK and US law firms.

As 2013 ended Reward was the priority with roles flowing in from numerous consultancies and in-house firms.  This gave us a great end to 2013, filling positions from assistant manager to partner in various firms within their Reward and Incentives teams.  The good news is that these opportunities are still continuing to flourish in January 2014.  There is a significant need for reward managers in-house, as well as in practice with skills in executive compensation, broad-base knowledge or sales incentives/share schemes exposure.  We have seen expansion for Big4 firms such as PwC in the regions with recruitment of managers and senior managers in share schemes/reward in Manchester and Reading.

Insolvency did go through a quiet period at the end of 2013, but January has seen a demand for mainly senior roles and minimal demand for junior members.   Within the first 2 weeks of January, we have taken on 12 new jobs with salaries of £100K+, predominately for senior manager to partner.  They are seeking well established work winners with a book of contacts to aspiring Partners who are looking to build a network of contacts in the insolvency/restructuring sector.   The number of formal insolvency appointments is still low but we are still seeing an increasing number of advisory based assignments from performance management to cash and crisis management.   Our legal insolvency clients are very busy at the moment and we are trying to aid a number of them in expanding their teams.  We are being kept busy with positions for those from 1 year PQE right up to Partner level, recruiting for firms ranging from regional to US working within the contentious and non-contentious arena.

Employment tax constantly stews in the background with new employment tax jobs arising throughout the year, however there has been an upturn for firms seeking more senior members with a focus on business development.  This highlights the competition in this space, not just with the Big4 but within the Top 10 accountancy firms. 

Indirect Tax seems to be responding to a surge of strong promotions at the mid-level, opening a window of manager positions. The Big 4 are recruiting heaviest, albeit at a reduced rate of growth. Indeed, the headcount growth for the most recent financial year has been below target for a number of the key players in this game – indicating the skills gap in proactive junior staff and prolific work winners. The sectors in strength continue to be financial services and consumer businesses but appetite for personal in other areas has not dwindled away. The interesting development in the indirect tax world however is a noticeable trend of high level Big 4 dispute resolution specialists moving to leading law firms to head up and/or build up contentious tax teams. This could be an excellent revenue generator – but will it threaten the performance of the Big 4 as the key stakeholders for the biggest EU tax cases?

A quiet stint in the pensions market has swiftly come to an end with a search for junior to mid-level pension lawyers for a US firm. With rumours of other pensions jobs coming in next week, it seems that early 2014 may by a very busy time in the Harvey Sutton office.



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