Is the legal recruitment industry doing enough to champion change

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    Covering the period 1 May 2021 – April 2022, agencies have worked with Ashurst to take proactive steps to ensure that candidates are representative of the widest talent pools, including but not limited to social mobility, gender, disability and LGBTIQ+.

    The report showed the gender breakdown of candidate submissions and placements was roughly an even split 50/50 between women and men. Although data presented a predominantly heterosexual talent pool, approximately 15% of candidate submissions identifying gay/lesbian or bisexual.

    Talent pools across various ethnic origins including Asian, Black, Irish and mixed multiple ethnic groups were represented in the data provided however 58% of candidate submissions related to White British, indicating significant change still needs to be adopted within the legal landscape.

    Showing a need for more open and honest communication about the adjustments needed in the workplace to support employees living with disabilities, a noticeable cohort of candidates preferred not to disclose this information. Encouragingly a number of candidates did feel comfortable disclosing experience of mental health issues showing the positive effects from large scale national campaigns in reassuring people to speak out

    Tracking social mobility still proves to be difficult with the majority of agencies unable to provide this data. Those that reported showed over 47% of their candidate submissions hailed from fee-paying schools.

    Candidate completion rates varied drastically from agency to agency, ranging from 11% to 78%. One of the key factors impacting the rate of completion related to ensuring the purpose of the data collection was communicated clearly to candidates prior to asking them to participate.

    In comparison, the completion rate of internal employees at partnering recruitment agencies was very high. The data presented by agencies highlighted a predominantly female legal recruitment industry, with five of the partnered agencies workforce comprising over 60% female recruitment consultants. In addition, within those agencies, consultants identified principally as White British with other ethnic groups accounting for less than 10% of the workforce.

    Rebecca Owen, Senior Resourcing Manager has commented,

    "This report, the first of a series of annual insights, helps to provide a snapshot into the diversity of the legal recruitment market. As internal and external recruitment professionals within the legal landscape, we play a key role in driving forward meaningful change. It is clear there is still work to be done however it is encouraging to see some positive statistics and we hope through this partnership we will see a positive shift in the demographic of the legal recruitment landscape across both agencies and candidates."

    Nicole Williams, Counsel & Global Co-Head of Inclusion, Diversity & Belonging added, "As a firm we are committed to progressing diversity and removing barriers to access. We are hopeful collecting this data year on year will provide a more accurate representation of the legal recruitment industry and insightful analysis to ensure equal opportunities for all."

    Ashurst have now confirmed participants for 2022-2023 as Astral Legal, Marsden, Montresor Legal, Lusona, Hydrogen, G2 Legal, Gardner Halliday, Jameson Legal, Latitude Legal, Aventum Search, Harrier Search and Veritas Partners.

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