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Things are looking good for the Benelux in-house legal market

Posted by: Laurence Simons 16/03/15

In 2014 we reported that headcount growth in the Benelux region increased and that we expected this to continue for the foreseeable future. Well, we were right.

Our recent salary survey identified that lawyers in the Benelux region experienced headcount growth of 48% in 2014 compared to 30% in 2013. As the economic markets across the globe improve and commerce increases, lawyers will be more in demand. We anticipate this to continue throughout 2015. The good times are here and this is perfectly summed up by the 89% of Benelux respondents to our salary survey who report feeling secure in their role.

Whilst this sounds good, it’s not all sunshine and roses as salaries have remained relatively the same since 2013. This can present some challenges as candidates want a salary increase when moving roles. On some occasions, we have been made aware of candidates being offered a salary package lower than their current package. However, these cases are few and far between.

One trend we have noticed is the increasing length of the interview process. Only a few years ago, a company would, for the most part, have an interview process that lasted two maybe three rounds. However, we are seeing an increasing number of companies introducing as much as eight rounds which can sometimes take up to six months! We would advise against this as companies risk losing candidates that have multiple interviews running concurrently.

As we stated in our previous market summary for the Benelux region “compliance specialists must prove they add value by working autonomously before being able to justify hiring additional team members”. Well, they certainly have and an increasing number of companies are hiring dedicated compliance officers either residing in or outside the legal department. Data privacy is often part of the compliance function and there’s a high demand for those specialists as well.

We have also noticed an increase in the number of candidates willing to relocate to the Benelux region, mainly the Netherlands and Belgium. As there is still an increasing number of multinationals setting up their European headquarters in Benelux for tax benefit reasons, more candidates find relocation to the region appealing.