Pay, stress and poor work-life balance among top reasons why lawyers are quitting
Research suggests almost a quarter said they wanted a career change
A survey of legal workers in the UK who have changed jobs at least once in their career has shown that pay, stress, poor career progression and a lack of work-life balance are the primary reasons why they’re leaving their jobs.
Some 35% of those surveyed working in the legal sector said pay was a factor in them deciding to leave their role, whilst 24% cited work-life balance as the major reason for moving. Twelve-percent revealed that their old position was too stressful and 24% told Go1, the online learning platform which conducted the survey, that they wanted a career change.
The research further found that 20% of workers in the legal industry felt their employer didn’t offer sufficient career progression.
This figure was the joint highest, alongside the IT sector, of all the sectors surveyed in this category. It was closely followed by architecture & engineering (19%), whilst 14% of those those surveyed in the finance sector complained of poor career progression.
An average of all professions included in the research also indicates that Gen Z (aged 16-23) will only stay in a role they’re unhappy in for just over four months before resigning. Millennials (aged 24-42), however, are likely to stick it out slightly longer, waiting just under a year (11.2 months) before leaving, whereas Gen X (aged 43-54) will wait for just over a year (12.5 months) and baby boomers (aged 55-73) 17.6 months.
Legal Cheek has been closely reporting on the war for legal talent that has been going on since US firms began to expand their foothold in the London legal market. Many top US players now pay their City juniors upwards of £160,000 upon qualification, our Most List 2023 shows. But the work hours have also become more extreme, with some City lawyers clocking off, on average, post 11pm.
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As I gaze at the sun glinting on my brand new Lambo on the driveway to my Chelsea Townhouse, sipping reflectively on the flute of vintage Krug my model girlfriend poured to celebrate yet another PE fund smashed, I struggle to identify with this article.
This is slightly concerning as a future trainee. I was never under any illusions that commercial law was good for a work life balance, but for those of us who want to actually spend their wages/have any semblance of a family life this is a problem.
Combined with a lack of career progression and I’m wondering what the long-term prospects or options are.
Commercial firms have significant lawyer attrition built in to the business model – the best thing I can say from experience is that it’s a well-paid, well-respected and (in most cases) half decent working environment in which to get on the career ladder. Whilst you’re young and inexperienced, I would just get stuck in, safe in the knowledge there are a lot of different doors to walk through whenever you want to get off the gravy train. Some people end up loving it and never get off.
Solid advice – thanks!
Ex City Lawyer- Moved In-house
Train, gain 5 years post qualification experience then move in-house and enjoy that 9-5.30 life.
That’s what I did, took a £50k hit on salary but love my life now
Mr. William Waever
It’s so true.
I have to look for stress relief by doing unusual things in public places.