It has been a turbulent few years emerging from the recession with economic growth slow to gain pace. 2013/2014 saw a turnaround in financial markets as the economy picked up and in Q3 of 2013 GDP exceeded its pre-recession peak. As confidence grew and activity increased, law firm recruitment during 2014 reached its highest level since pre credit crunch. Competition for the best candidates is high, and in line with a positive economic outlook for the next 12 months we expect the September NQ market this year to be busier than previous years.
In 2014 NQ roles registered increased by 55% since the previous year. Firms across the City are working at full capacity and many need to recruit for growth at the junior/NQ level as they do not have enough of their own trainees to fill the roles in their busiest teams.
The most buoyant practice areas over the last 12 months have been Real Estate, Finance (with particular demand for Real Estate, Asset, Project and Structured Finance), Financial Services and Corporate, (especially ECM and Private Equity). As corporate grew busier, corporate support teams – in particular Employment/Pensions, Competition and Tax – also needed to recruit. During the last quarter of 2014 we also saw more movement in Litigation, with Finance/Banking and Regulatory Litigation experience being most in demand.
We predict that the hot spots/busiest areas for NQ recruitment, in line with the broader market, will be corporate, finance, real estate, tax, pensions and financial services.
Interested in making a move?
There are many reasons for considering a move as an NQ, most commonly having been unable to secure a role in your preferred specialism at your own firm. Other reasons include: wanting to make a step up to a larger practice or a step down to a smaller/boutique one; wanting a change of location; moving to a firm with higher remuneration. Alternatively you may just want to weigh up your options and receive some advice on career planning for the future.
How it works, timing and the process.
We start to register September NQ roles any time from Easter onwards with the majority of roles arising during May, June and July once firms have completed their internal processes with their own trainees. Whilst it is still quite early for firms to know which teams they are likely to need to recruit for externally, it is never too early to get your CV in order and have initial, confidential discussions with a trusted agent. It is worth noting that many of the US firms with smaller NQ intakes start to recruit earlier as they have a better idea of what their external NQ needs will be.
As soon as new roles arise, you will be contacted by your gmk consultant and if you are interested in making an application we will forward your CV. If you are successful in securing an interview your consultant will work with you on interview preparation (if desired). We also offer help and advice at offer stage, dealing with any queries and making sure everything runs smoothly.
Do and Don’t.
- Do some research and choose an agency such as gmk, where you will have a one-to-one relationship with your consultant, and where you can be guaranteed full market coverage.
- Do take control. This is your future career – you must stay in control of the process (this will be harder the more people you are dealing with).
- Do keep a list of which agent is sending your CV where and when to avoid duplicate applications. Your CV being sent to the same firm more than once makes you appear untargeted and careless.
- Do be prepared to be open and honest with your chosen consultant/consultants. Keep you consultant fully briefed on where you are applying, interviewing and of any offers. This allows your consultant to do the best possible job for you.
- Don’t give any one consultant blanket consent to send your details to any firm they deem suitable – be very wary of anyone making such a request.
To discuss this information in more detail, or to receive a copy of our 2015 NQ Career Guide, contact one of the experienced consultants at gmk. We look forward to hearing from you!