Surge In Conveyancing Vacancies

Since the 23rd July 2020, Today’s Conveyancer has been keeping track of the number of adverts that include the term “conveyancer” on recruitment website Indeed, which has shown an increase of over 34%.

Estate agents and those in the industry have reported a surge in sales of property following the announcement of the stamp duty holiday, in all areas of property.

A poll by Mortgage Solutions on the 7 August suggested that there was more interest in mortgages from home movers and first-time buyers, due to the stamp duty holiday, but it appears the holiday has raised interest across the board. First time buyers and home movers accounts for 35% each of enquiries, and buy to let landlords being 21% of the enquiries since the stamp holiday announcement.

The increase in demand by buyers was also reported by Rightmove who saw a jump of 49% in enquiries for property valued between £400,000 and £500,000 in the week after the announcement regarding the stamp duty holiday.

HMRC reported that 32% more properties were sold in the UK in June compared to May, demonstrating the continued recovery of the housing market.

It therefore appears that this surge in demand for property has had a positive impact in the conveyancing industry, with more conveyancers needed within firms to meet the demand.

From searches done on the jobs website Indeed, for simply the term “conveyancer”, has shown a steady daily increase in the number of roles being advertised. On the 23rd July there were 391 roles listed, which included legal secretaries, paralegals and trained conveyancers. This has risen to 526 on the 10 August, an increase of over 34% within 2 weeks.

This will be welcome news in residential conveyancing which towards the beginning of lockdown was seeing redundancies being made.

Other areas within the legal industry are still under threat, despite lockdown restrictions being eased.   On the 7 August it was announced that top 50 UK law firm Freeths had entered a period of consultation with 80 roles expected to be cut, due to worries of weak economic recovery. The redundancies will look to mitigate the impact by looking at other options such as sabbaticals and reduced hours.

Colin Flanagan, chairman of Freeths, said in a staff email:

“It is a matter of huge regret that we are faced with some contraction in our work for the first time since the financial crisis, and that we find ourselves needing to reduce our staff numbers”

Top 25 UK law firm DWF has also announced measures which puts over 15 roles at risk of redundancy, following previous announcements in June of the closure of its Singapore and Brussels offices, and redundancies at their branches in Dubai and Cologne.

The Law Gazette yesterday announced that “regional law societies have warned that solicitors could face redundancy one the government’s job retention scheme ends on 31 October”, and that the Birmingham Law Society’s president Inez Brown is “already being told that there will be job losses after 31 October”. Brown warned:

“Firms need to be careful they don’t make their high skilled solicitors redundant because when things improve in six months’ or 12 months’ time and the economy is doing much better they are going to need to start recruiting – and the very skilled people they have made redundant will have gone elsewhere”

The Office of National Statistics has announced that revenue generated by the UK legal industry has dropped to a four year low, falling 12% in May to £2.35bn.

The Bar Council also had reported toward the end of June that 75% of chambers had seen their court work reduced, with 29% of chambers saying they were unlikely to survive more than 3-6 months, and 58% saying they would not last 6-12 months.

As the residential conveyancing industry appears to be bucking this trend, we asked those in the industry what they were witnessing in regard to recruitment.

Amy Watson, Associate Director at Eventus Legal told us:

“At Eventus Legal we have seen a marked increase in the activity in the legal market as a whole over the past weeks, and large majority of this is in the Conveyancing sector. Whilst experienced Conveyancing specialists were highly sought pre-COVID, the pause in activity we experienced during lockdown seemingly created pent up demand and I am pleased that most of our clients remarked upon a swift return to pre-lockdown levels of instructions. The past few weeks, due in no small part to the stamp duty changes, most of our clients have seen a surge of enquiries and they have quickly recognised the need to expand their teams and therefore we have had many new instructions. The Recruitment market is certainly healthier in Conveyancing than many other legal disciplines which are experiencing a slower return to pre-lockdown levels.”

We would love to know your experiences, both in vacancies and demand for conveyancers, and how other roles are within your firm.  Let us know on [email protected].

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