Unemployment – UK Legal Labour Market Trends, June 2024

Labour’s Employment Policy Prompts Surge in Legal Sector Recruitment


Key findings include:
  • 33.9% increase in Employment vacancies within the legal sector.
  • London employment vacancies are down by 7.7%. 
  • Regions are overtaking, with the increase in vacancies by 57.7%
  • Mills & Reeve leads Top 20 with an increase in recruitment activity by 162.5%


On the first of January, the Labour Party announced its new deal for employees, contingent on their expected victory in the next election. Currently projected at an 88% likelihood of winning, businesses will need to review and update employee contracts to comply with the new regulations.

Unsurprisingly, law firms are rapidly recruiting to bolster their employment teams faster than other practice areas. Legal vacancies have increased by 23% this year compared to last, with employment-specific vacancies up by 33.9%. Notably, March 2024 recorded the highest number of employment vacancies nationwide since June 2021. This is according to the latest UK labour market trends report by leading professional recruiter Search, and labour market data analysts Vacancysoft.

Regional Surge in Employment Vacancies Amid London Decline

So far in 2024, the monthly average of employment vacancies is down 7.7% compared to 2023. This contrasts with regional areas, which are on track for a 57.7% increase in vacancies. London-based firms, focusing more on banking and corporate work, have seen a shift in hiring focus, whereas employment law is typically handled by national and regional firms.

In 2023, employment vacancies increased more in London than regionally (9.1% vs 5.4%), resulting in a record share of vacancies in the capital (36.4%). However, in 2024, London’s share has dropped to 25.1% as regional vacancies surge.

Northern Recruitment Surges, Leading UK Job Market in 2024

In 2024, recruitment across the north of the country has outpaced all other areas, accounting for 42.7% of the total. This surge is particularly evident this year, with a 131.6% increase in the monthly average compared to last year. The North West has led the way, with 34 vacancies posted so far, representing 23.8% of the total outside London and a 96.2% increase over last year.

Yorkshire & the Humber has seen the most significant year-on-year surge, with vacancies increasing by 186.4% compared to 2023.

Mills & Reeve and DAC Beachcroft Lead in Employment Vacancies

Mills & Reeve is notable for matching DAC Beachcroft in vacancies this year, achieving a 162.5% increase compared to last year. DAC Beachcroft, consistently the top UK law firm for employment lawyer vacancies, has seen a 61.5% rise in 2024, reflecting their large team.

Eversheds Sutherland, a leading recruiter in 2023 with only Duncan Lewis posting more vacancies, has experienced a 35% drop in vacancies this year. As a result, they have fallen down the top twenty rankings.

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