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Opportunity and Growth: the two themes for 2015

Posted by: Laurence Simons 23/03/15

This year is going to be full of opportunity and change in the legal and compliance sectors as confidence continues to grow. Our 2015 salary survey reported that 46% of respondents in EMEA are optimistic about the economic outlook.

While each country has its own unique circumstances there was an overriding theme of change across EMEA in 2014. The private practice market experienced further merger activity, the rise of the boutique continued and there was further focus on international markets, trends which look likely to continue in 2015. In both the in-house and private practice markets, recruitment will need to be pushed up the agenda, with a focus on the quality and speed of processes in order to impress and secure the best candidates, who are once again in demand.

Salaries and Bonuses
Salaries are likely to increase in the markets where competition and demand is strong, for example the UK, and as a result bonuses are also on the on the increase. The last two years saw roughly a third of legal and compliance professionals receive a bonus according to our previous salary surveys.  It’s interesting to note that our survey identified more male lawyers (62%) received a bonus than their female counterparts (38%). Hopefully this imbalance will level out in the near future.

Europe – the destination of choice for lawyers
We asked legal and compliance professionals if they were willing to relocate internationally and if so what their destination of choice would be. Europe was by far the most sought after destination. Overall, 64% of respondents are willing to relocate with 59% of those open to moving to Europe. This was followed by 25% wanting to move to North America, 4% wanting to move to the Middle East and 2% wanting to move to Africa. The latter two are growing legal and compliance markets and lawyers relocating there are leading a trend to meet a growing demand for legal talent in those regions. We expect these two markets to grow considerably over the next few years.

Market predictions for 2015
From speaking with clients and hearing the optimism it seems there will certainly be an increase in headcount in both private practice and in-house across the vast majority of countries in EMEA. The UK, Switzerland, the Benelux regions are all likely to see headcount increase. Our survey reflects this with 48% of respondents expecting headcount to increase in 2015. However, 23% of respondents expect it to be a modest 1-5%, which indicates that some of the optimism in the market remains cautious, particularly in continental Europe.

Overall, 2015 is shaping up to be another dynamic and exciting one the legal sector and if trends continue one of the most positive for the legal market that we’ve seen in recent years, which is refreshing considering how long the impact of the global financial crisis has been felt and the several years of negative economic news. Onwards and upwards, I say!