Pay, stress and poor work-life balance among top reasons why lawyers are quitting

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By William Holmes on


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.

The 2023 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

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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