The legal jobs market in New Zealand remains buoyant, with some excellent job opportunities across the board, but one of the important changes occurring is the increasing demand from younger lawyers for firms to provide greater work life balance opportunities.
LawFuel spoke with legal recruiter Kirsty Spears of McLeod Duminy who said that ‘for the most part’ law firms are responding to the call for greater flexibility in working conditions.
Work life issues are one of the key drivers in many modern firms both in New Zealand and overseas, where they seek to both attract good candidates and also provide the best technology and facilities, which in turn provides both better lifestyle and career opportunities.
Lifestyle is now a key factor for many when they make their next law job choice, be it with Big Law firms or otherwise. The ability to work remotely and to work different hours, or part time, has increasingly come to the fore in terms of what firms are offering candidates.
“More recently we are seeing people move for more lifestyle, balance, environment reasons, with the opportunity for flexible working arrangements the most sought after factor,” she told LawFuel.
Although some regional firms still appear to struggle to obtain quality candidates for some of their vacancies, there are nonetheless good opportunities that continue to present themselves for candidates who seek work outside of the main centres.
The Government’s regional development programme was expected to provide a significant boost in law firm activity, along with accompanying job opportunities, but Kirsty Spears says the firms are more cautious about what effect the new government’s fund might have.
For firms it appears to be a question of ‘wait and see’. Although there remains some strong economic activity in many of the provincial centres, particularly with strong commodity prices, which is also helping provide a buoyant economic situation for the firms and some good law job opportunities.
The main demand currently is for lawyers in the 4 to 7 years area, which is traditionally the time when many lawyers move overseas for their ‘OE’. However, as Kirsty Spears says, the gap in this area was also created by the global financial crisis.
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