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Good Job Satisfaction Survey at Law Firms

by | Apr 6, 2014 | Professionals

Shoosmiths, Weil Gotshal and DWF shine as employee satisfaction rises
in Satifaction-Survey
by Frances Ivens (17 July 2014)
@ frances_ivens

Law firm employees care more about their value to the firm and work-life balance than their remuneration, Legal Week’s employee satisfaction survey has found.

Law firm employees care more about their value to the firm and work-life balance than their remuneration, Legal Week’s employee satisfaction survey has found.

As firms begin to come out of the recession and this year’s financial results show signs of growth, Legal Week’s employee satisfaction survey – now in its tenth year – has collected the views of more than 2,500 fee earners at the top UK and global firms.The results show that, on the whole, employees are happier this year – with the overall satisfaction score up from 6.8 in 2013 to 7.1.

The survey asked respondents to rate various aspects of life at their firms on both importance and satisfaction.

The relative importance of salary to fee earners has fallen, with this factor dropping from 4th to 7th position in the ranking of how important it is to employees. Prospects for career development has now overtaken salary as being more important to staff.

Meanwhile, ‘softer’ HR issues remain the most important factors. These include ‘being valued by the firm’, ‘work-life balance’ and ‘treatment by partners’, which take first, second and third place in the rankings for the second year in succession.

“It makes perfect sense that ‘softer’ HR issues would come to the fore as law firms pay well and are now increasingly focused on the key drivers of motivation for lawyers and staff,” explains Baker & McKenzie’s HR director, Gillian Coyle.

newsanaltable2“Similarly, lawyers expect to be paid well for their skills, experience and contribution in line with the market and once that is in place it’s inevitable that they will focus on the other aspects of working life.”

Coyle adds that the importance placed on the more personal HR considerations falls in line with a recent study by the Institute of Leadership & Management whose research found that emotional factors are the strongest motivators in the workplace.  Despite these factors being of importance to employees, some suggest that law firms may be reluctant to change their culture.

“A lot of firms do not want to be known as a nice place to work because that is a burden. They want to be known as a great place to work, not a nice place,” says one recruiter.  Despite this perception, employees’ satisfaction with their firms’ culture has increased to 7.4, 9% up on last years’ score of 6.8.

jobsurvey

Slaughter and May head of HR Louise Meikle says: “As we know, employees are motivated by a broader range of factors than they were 10 years ago. The survey suggests that these factors are shifting year on year. As law firms, we need to listen to our employees and make sure that what we offer remains attractive to them and to the workforce of the future.”

The survey found that 21% of respondents are currently looking for another job, up from 20% last year. Perhaps unsurprisingly, those looking for a job claim to be the least satisfied with their treatment by partners. This group also rated the extent to which they are valued by their firms as of less importance than their peers. Being valued is of most importance to female staff, according to respondents.

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