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UK legal vacancies plunge 75% during pandemic

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Job applications also tumble, new research reveals

Job vacancies in the UK legal sector plunged by a whopping 75% between March and April 2020, according to new research, as law firms across the country suspend recruitment in response to the financial uncertainty caused by the coronavirus crisis.

The latest figures from job board CV-Library show applications for legal roles also dropped significantly last month — 45% compared to March and 36% year-on-year.

The site also found an increase in competition among candidates for the legal roles that are available, with the application to job ratio rocketing by 208% in April compared to the previous year. The data shows that there were an average of 30.18 applications per legal role in April 2020, as opposed to just 9.8 in April 2019.

Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library, commented: “Thousands of companies have put a pause on their hiring plans until there’s more certainty in the market and the pandemic is having an impact on all sorts of industries; including the legal sector.”

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He continued:

“All we can do now is prepare for the recovery and hope that business confidence picks up over the next few months when lockdown restrictions eventually ease. Unfortunately, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel at this stage, especially as we move into the thick of the spring/summer period, which tends to be quieter for hiring anyway.”

The research comes as a number of big City players announced freezes or deferrals on recruitment, while some chambers have delayed their pupillage recruitment plans for this year in light of the pandemic.

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