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Abandoned OE, Returning Lawyers Change NZ Law Jobs Scene Changes But Who Are The ‘In Demand’ Lawyers Now?

The pandemic has seen a major change in the law jobs scene as – for the first time in some years – the market has moved from being ‘candidate driven’ to being one where the employers are finding the ability to pick-and-choose in a tougher market.

The Niche Recruitment law jobs survey shows that returning lawyers and the fact that lawyers are not going on their ‘OE’ has created a surplus within the jobs market that has favoured the law firms and others seeking experienced lawyers.

“It would be a stretch to call the legal market ‘candidate-rich’, however there is a window of opportunity during 2020 for employers to take advantage of an enlarged talent pool.

“Overall, the legal sector has been quite resilient to the impact of Covid-19, with few redundancies compared to other sectors. Competition to secure top talent has remained high, with firms that have the capacity to hire looking to position themselves strongly for the economic recovery.”

The COVID Effect on NZ Law Jobs Salaries

Some upward pressure has impacted on salaries during 2019, but the current situation has seen that ease, the survey reports.

Salaries have not fallen, but salary increases are likely to be minimal.

“Organisations are looking at how to navigate the changing landscape e.g. some firms are opting for very small salary increments on a six-monthly basis, rather than the standard annual increase; and in government and regulatory bodies, resourcing need is being assessed against budget restraints and outsourcing costs.'”

Who Are The In-Demand Lawyers?

The lawyers most in demand continue to be those in the 3 to six year PQE band, according to the Niche survey.

But the gap is closing.

“As border restrictions are likely to remain for some time yet, we expect to
see the supply of candidates tighten as the number of returning candidates tapers off in the latter part of 2020.”

The salary band for the mid-sized firms in this 1-3 year band is $50,000-$65,000 (small/medium firms) to $70,000-$85,000 for large firms.

In the 4-7 year PQE band the figures for salaries range from $65,000-$90,000 for smaller firms to $85,000-$110,000 for large firms.

There is some good news among the support staff grouping where firms have been keen to retain good staff by lifting support staff salaries.

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