The Midlands legal jobs market in 2020

November 12, 2019

So what can we expect in 2020?  I think we can expect a flatter market in the first half of the year but I also expect a very pleasant bounce and a return to growth in the second half.  In any case, consolidation and constriction are both inevitable results of the sustained growth we’ve seen in the last few years, it could not carry on forever, irrespective of Brexit we would still be seeing a slowdown (Is the global recession coming? Here are seven warnings signs).  But the legal recruitment market is still healthy and we have a number of exciting mandates from many firms that are very positive about the future at an international, national and local level including taking up new office space to increase headcount in Birmingham.  These firms are genuinely optimistic about what they can achieve in 2020 and beyond and see Birmingham as pivotal for growth over the next decade.  The total number of vacancies we are seeing right now is certainly lower than 12-18 months ago but those amounts could never continue unabated! 

I believe a sustainable economy depends on modesty; modest pay, modest spending, a modest outlook.  Paying people too much money, overspending on things/resources you don’t need but can afford and having over inflated projections might work for a period but it’s not sustainable.  Ultimately all economic markets contract and consolidate, so should we be nervous about the UK economy?  The media (unsurprisingly) would like us to be very nervous as it makes for a better headline. But I refuse to take a gloomy tone and be influenced by the doom mongers.  Having worked in legal recruitment in Birmingham through a full blown all singing all dancing global crash unlike anything the world has ever seen before (and hopefully never see again) and still see an increase my team’s turnover and headcount through that period, I can take a lot of confidence into a flatter market and so should you.

The economy isn’t growing at a rate we would all like – true.  If it wasn’t for Brexit, there is a strong argument to say the world would still be heading into recession anyway not least because of global trade wars and the automotive sector needing to adjust to climate change.  The reasons are many and there isn’t a lot we can do about it as a lot of what goes on around the world is beyond our control.  I’m a firm believer that a slowdown can be good for business because you cannot keep inflation at a modest rate without some kind of diversion.  We need that diversion to keep things at a sustainable rate.  Nobody likes a recession, but the reality is we will probably have one but that doesn’t mean the world will end!  A slowdown will just level things out.  Work is never easy whether you are in a boom period or a slowdown, the challenges are different but whether you are trying to keep ahead and capitalise on a good market or trying to keep up to stay afloat through a flat market, you still work hard and have to try to focus on the things you can influence rather than wasting energy on the things you cannot control.  

The legal jobs market has changed but it’s still in a very good place and I am feeling incredibly positive about where we are right now. (Read why Birmingham is the place to be in 2020) If you would like a confidential discussion about your career and what opportunities exist please do get in touch, I believe it’s actually a good time to be assessing your options.