Brought to you by our friends at the Sellick Partnership
The economic woes of the past four years have forced many firms, especially those in the legal sector, to change and adapt their recruitment process to meet the pressures of spending cuts and the changing economic environment. Enter the world of the locum - a legal professional that can offer an encouraging light at the end of an uncertain tunnel. Previously reserved for covering maternity and sick leave, locums now have the potential to stabilise the otherwise rocky future of local governments and law firms.
In a recent legal salary survey conducted by recruitment specialists Sellick Partnership, it was found that the demand for legal locums has increased by 30% in the last year. With the promise of economic growth, law firms are beginning to dip their toes into new markets, using professional locums to test the water before employing permanent staff members.
So, what’s changed?
Legal firms have finally woken up to the benefits professional locums can bring to organisations in this changing market. Temporary staff cannot only vastly improve the productivity of the team, but also provide firms with invaluable flexibility, whether they are there on a short term stopgap or the company is window-shopping for new employees for implementing new projects or simply assisting with increased workload.
Gone are the days of mediocre solicitors offering themselves on a locum basis because they can’t secure a permanent position; now, ambitious and forward thinking professionals are looking at locum as a career option. Exposing individuals to a wide variety of legal placements, life as a locum can be challenging but rewarding – an opportunity to be adaptable and determined, ready to move for work and commit to short term contracts. There is still an overwhelming sense of doubt when it comes to securing a permanent placement, particularly amongst trainee and newly qualified lawyers who are finding the job market saturated and highly competitive. Working as a locum enables them to gain experience and explore career options - enhancing their CV and long term career prospects.
Making yourself available on a locum basis drastically increases the opportunities on offer, and enhances your exposure in the market. From my experience within the recruitment industry, employers who frequently recruit locum lawyers often go on to offer permanent positions to those who have the talent required; working as a locum no longer comes with the threat of needing to find new work within a few months. Instead, it is more comparable to an extended interview, giving individuals the opportunity to prove themselves over a period of time rather than in a brief meeting.
For clients, access to a vast database of quality candidates available on short notice is providing real value for money, moving businesses forward in a positive direction. Sellick Partnership's salary survey revealed that the biggest issue for firms over the next twelve months is achieving more with a limited team – locum staff solve this problem by providing vital cover when existing businesses lose key members of their team, and enables organisations to improve their performance.
By implementing a well-defined locum recruitment strategy, and offering clear management and support, a professional locum can be as effective and productive as recruiting a permanent member of staff.