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Lawyers more loyal than most

Engagement and good management key to retention 

10 June 2013

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

Legal professionals are among the most loyal professionals to their employers, according to a UK survey across a range of professional disciplines.

It found that 32 per cent of legal professionals believe they should change employers at least every three years, compared to a UK-wide average of 42 per cent.

Half of the professionals surveyed said a lack of career progression is a key factor in deciding to change jobs. The second biggest reason cited is having a difficult manager (28 per cent).

Published in the Robert Walters Career Lifestyle Survey 2013, the findings are based on responses from 1,420 professionals working across a range of disciples in the UK, of which 152 were from the legal sector.

“The fact that legal professionals don’t like to move around too often is indicative of loyalty to their firms but also of their preference to seek career progression internally,” said Colin Loth, director of legal recruitment at Robert Walters.

“This is primarily because legal specialists like to build a career with an employer, find a niche that interests them and make valuable long-term contributions over a sustained period of time.”

Engagement among legal professionals is high, with 69 per cent saying their skills and contribution to the business is ‘very important’. In addition, 74 per cent said they feel that their own personal achievements impact the broader success of the business.

Marketing specialists are keenest to switch positions most frequently, with 57 per cent looking to do so at least every three years. Projects (55 per cent), risk (55 per cent), HR (52 per cent) and compliance (48 per cent) specialists are also relatively eager to change jobs this regularly, the report says.

Legal professionals ranked third nationwide in their numbers of hours worked. They logged 45.9 hours per week on average, compared to a UK average of 44.6 hours for professionals in full-time positions. Sales professionals recorded the longest time at work, with 47.9 hours, followed by operations staff, at 46.2 hours.

However, the survey also noted that 38 per cent of lawyers now work more than 50-hour weeks, compared to an average of 28 per cent across the UK as a whole.

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