Motus Recruitment Insights


Recent Key Market Observations – what we’re seeing at Motus Legal Recruitment

There’s been no shortage of uncertainty in recent times and unsurprisingly the issues surrounding the increase in the cost of living and other economic factors have been affecting recruitment and candidate behaviour across all industries and sectors.

The legal sector isn’t immune to these effects, however the full impact of the current economic climate on the profession is still relatively unknown.

What we do know is that the past few months have been an interesting time within the legal recruitment market. Although recruitment activity across our partner law firms has remained largely consistent with activity levels during the same period last year, for both candidates and law firms alike, we’ve seen several new and unique challenges come to the fore.

From the conversations we’ve been having with the legal professionals within our network, the Motus team have pulled together a few key observations and trends they’ve noticed throughout the last few months:


  • Following the shock impact of “Trussonomics”, there was a noticeable slow-down in law firm recruitment for a few weeks in October, with a number of firms slightly pausing on some hiring needs and decisions.

    This has proved to be more a case of ‘taking breath’ after the frenetic activity of 2022, and recruitment activity levels have since risen and appear to be holding up well into 2023.


  • In fact, the vast majority of our client law firms who we’ve spoken to in recent weeks have indicated that they are expecting another good year in 2023. They are seeing numerous opportunities for growth, whether by sector focus, new geographies or complementary practice areas and are therefore planning to remain active with their hiring.


  • From a candidate-perspective, October also proved a catalyst for increased uncertainty. Some candidates became increasingly cautious when it came to making their next career move, prompting an increase in the number of candidates withdrawing from an interview process or rejecting offers, often citing the cost of living crisis as their reason.

    Since that time, candidate confidence seems to be returning, although candidates are still regularly seeking genuine assurances from potential employers that their new role will be secure.


  • We’ve seen an interesting trend towards senior level candidates focusing their searches on smaller firms for their next move. In many cases, this is driven by the feeling they can make a greater impact and feel more irreplaceable and indispensable within a smaller team, irrespective of the perceived cachet of their current firm’s name or their tenure.


  • The pressures of salary inflation in the legal sector continue. We’ve seen firms need to up the salaries they’re offering across all seniority and experience level to remain competitive. Interestingly the impact of bonuses is potentially lessening, with the bonuses being offered no longer being seen as a strong pull factor.

    Instead, candidates are prioritising a reliable higher salary above all else – with clear pathways to progression; a strong culture; and opportunities for a better work/life balance being cited as other important considerations.