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Nicola Laver

Editor, Solicitors Journal

A third of legal workers don't feel valued by employers

A third of legal workers don't feel valued by employers


One in three employees in the legal industry do not feel valued by their employer, new research shows.

One in three employees in the legal industry do not feel valued by their employer, new research shows.

The study, The Engaged Employer, from payroll and HR software and services provider Moorepay, examines the employee benefits provided by businesses to recognise, reward and motivate staff.

In the legal sector, however, one in five (21 per cent) of all employees surveyed said their employer provides no benefits.

Where they are provided, financial bonuses and incentives are the most popular rewards among legal staff (41 per cent), the report reveals; followed by the provision of pension contributions over and above the minimum legal requirement, cited by two in five employees (39 per cent).

Beyond the top financial rewards, flexibility holds the most appeal for legal employees, with flexible and remote working cited as important by 38 per cent of them, while 27 per cent cited a four-day week as important.

Professional development and training was also named as a priority by 28 per cent of respondents.

Moorepay managing director Anthony Vollmer said that for all the popularity of new types of benefits and ways of working, traditional financial rewards like bonus pay and generous pension schemes still hold the most appeal for workers.

“However, people want different things at different ages, life stages, and depending on their lifestyle.

"So it is vital that benefits packages are relevant to employees, of value to them, and simple to manage from both sides.”

He added: “Employee benefits are just one tactic in the battle to recruit and retain the best people but, if devised and managed properly, they can help businesses deliver a great employee experience and reap the rewards of happy, loyal and motivated workforces.”

The report reveals that more than three-quarters (77 per cent) of smaller and medium sized businesses (SMEs) across all sectors are struggling to recruit suitably qualified staff; and nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) are finding it difficult to retain them.

These challenges have been exacerbated by a “perfect storm” of low unemployment and slow wage growth that has encouraged people to start looking for new opportunities at a time when good people are in high demand.

Stephen Bevan, head of HR research development at the Institute of Employment Studies said that to compete for skills, businesses must differentiate themselves from their competitors.

“Doing nothing is not really a credible option, even for SMEs with more constrained resources and less immediate access to specialist HR support.

"Companies need to make employees feel valued and make their reward and benefits packages fit for purpose, flexible, personalised and effective.”

It is no coincidence, he said, that many of the companies which have achieved the best rates of customer loyalty also have high levels of staff loyalty – they are strongly linked and are often driven by the same philosophy of management.

He added: “If businesses treated their employees as just another important group of customers and clients and constructed an ‘offer’ which both anticipated and responded to their needs, they would be much more likely to thrive.”

The report can be downloaded here.