Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Looking for Conveyancing Jobs? Stop complaining and get on your bike

One of the biggest areas to get hit in the recession across the UK was the property industry. This naturally included residential property, commercial property, new construction and all the related jobs in the legal profession which inevitably involved conveyancing solicitors and executives.

I must have spent about 10% of my time as a legal recruitment consultant over the past 3 years talking to desperate conveyancing lawyers who have either had to fine alternative work or take drastic pay cuts in order to stay either in their posts or move to a new one.

At times I have felt a little bit like a counsellor as opposed to a recruitment consultant because so many of these people have found themselves in desperate situations.

If you rewind the clock back about 7-10 years conveyancers were the kings of the high street. If we got a conveyancing candidate in we would immediately market them to as many different firms as possible because so many firms were keen to take on extra staff and there was a massive shortfall in the number of staff available. At times it felt as if we had to cajole people into positions and sell the benefits of joining an individual firm to them.

This all changed of course and the roles reversed exactly opposite. If we got a conveyancing job in over the last 3 to 4 years we would be selling candidates to firms in the hope of finding someone the firm liked as opposed to vice versa.

However a recent phenomenon has occurred of there being conveyancing vacancies and no conveyancers are bothered about applying.

A recent example would be a probably very well paid locum position up in the North West of England. This will last between 4 to 12 months and is at a fairly senior level of 5 years PQE or more.

We have over 250 conveyancers based within commuting distance of this particular firm who have 5 years PQE or more and have expressed an interest in locum or longer term contracts or permanent roles.

I sent this vacancy out to all of them a few days ago, and had precisely one response from a candidate who did not fully fit the job description.

I know for a fact that at least 10 out of the 250 are unemployed and desperate for work (because they call us fairly regularly) and yet none of them bothered to get in touch.

I can almost guarantee their response if I phone them to ask if they are interested.

"Sorry this is slightly too far away and I am only looking to work on Monday to Thursday and possibly alternate Wednesdays".

I must confess to being quite liberal/left wing in my approach to life. The values of the Conservative party are not something I rarely support.

However, I have to say that I completely agree with Norman Tebbit and Ian Duncan-Smith when they talked about people needing to wake up to the realities of life and get on their bikes to find work. It seems that so many people have got set in their ways with specific requirements to the way they work that they have lost touch with reality and the fact that they need money in order to survive. If a fairly lucrative contract comes up in a different area but maybe slightly inconvenient and not fit around a shopping trip or picking the kids up from the nursery then a lot of people simply won’t entertain that post.

Personally I will do whatever it takes to support my family (within reason of course!) and if I was needed to go and work in the Outer Hebrides during the week with one weekend off every four in order to pay the mortgage and the household bills then that is something I would do without thinking twice about it.

There are so many people in this recession who, it seems, still think that the world owes them a favour and that things need to be served up to them on a golden plate.

We see this with vacancies coming through when we get a good candidate who fits the vacancy and the vacancy fits them, but the good candidates suddenly decide that they are looking for something more and start to negotiate right at the end of the process. It seems to be almost that a fashion or culture of wanting to feel wanted yet at the same time wanting more than you can possibly expect and being surprised when that is not handed to you.

It seems to be right across the PQE range. I have a number of candidates registered who have taken jobs working as an administrative assistant with 20 years PQE, stacking shelves in Tescos with 7 years PQE, working in bars/pubs at NQ level. These candidates will do what it takes to survive and apply just about anywhere in the UK. Similarly I know of plenty of other candidates who have just sat back and waited for work to come to them without making any effort at all to market themselves, get work of any kind or pull out all the stops to get by.

So if you are reading this and are looking for conveyancing jobs and decide to phone me and start telling me how awful the market is and how hard your life has been, take a long hard look at yourself and think carefully – have you made every effort you could to go and find work or have you simply looked within a 5 mile radius of your home in order to fit in with your current lifestyle?

If it is the latter, please do not waste my time talking to me about how difficult the market is because you are likely to get short shrift.



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