The demand for skilled talent remains high in 2024. To meet their hiring goals, companies must continue finding innovative ways to attract and retain both long-term and short-term talent. Approaches such as offering above-average compensation, promoting opportunities for career advancement and engaging recruiters to help you tap into the pool of passive job seekers are more important than ever. In addition, attracting skilled talent is increasingly about how well a company can provide a healthy work/life balance. Another key to successfully building a team is to understand the current hiring environment and which roles are in highest demand, whether you’re actively recruiting for a role or simply want to keep hold of your current employees. Research from Robert Half’s Demand for Skilled Talent report highlights the latest data from surveys of hiring managers and our analysis of thousands of job postings to help you make informed hiring and management decisions.
According to analysis of our proprietary dataset of more than one million U.S. job postings, including 100,000 Robert Half placements, the legal job market saw bright spots throughout 2023. This is especially true in law firms, where openings for lawyers increased by 46% in the second half of the year after a slow first six months of hiring. Among the more than one million lawyers not self-employed, the annual unemployment rate was very low at just 0.5%, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For legal support roles, demand persisted throughout the latter half of the year. Legal secretaries, paralegals and other support staff saw annual unemployment rates as low as 0.9%, 1.7% and 0.5%, respectively. Paralegals across all levels of experience were highly sought after, from junior roles to senior positions demanding over seven years of experience. The government sector significantly increased its hiring for legal roles by 73% compared to the previous year. This boost resulted in over 2,500 additional legal positions, notably in roles such as lawyer, contract administrator, legal assistant and paralegal. Despite these positive trends, flexible work arrangements were less prevalent in legal roles. Only about one in four positions offered such flexibility in 2023, with most providing the option of hybrid work. Still, high-caliber professionals are drawn to flexible work. As more employers require more in-person time, legal organizations that can offer hybrid work schedules are particularly poised to distinguish themselves in the talent market.
The following positions were selected because they had consistent hiring demands in the second half of 2023 and high volumes of new openings. They represent the top 10% of in-demand legal roles, according to an analysis of thousands of job postings and Robert Half placements: Contract manager, 10+ years’ experienceLawyer/attorney, 2-3 years’ experienceLawyer/attorney, 4-9 years’ experienceLegal assistantParalegal, 2-3 years’ experienceParalegal manager Here are the projected salary ranges for the in-demand legal roles for 2024:
Looking forward, are companies hiring talent in the first half of 2024? Robert Half surveys of lawyers and managers in law firms and legal departments reveal that yes, recruitment is top of mind for many leaders in the field. A majority (60%) percent are hiring for new permanent roles, while an additional 36% say they plan to staff vacated permanent positions. To help augment their permanent teams, 79% of legal managers plan to increase their use of contract professionals. Law firms use contract talent especially for administrative and legal specialist roles. Corporate legal departments need contract talent for in-house corporate counsel, as well as legal operations and administrative roles. Hiring continues to be difficult, and research indicates that a portion of the legal workforce is open to new prospects. With 40% of legal professionals looking for a new role in the first half of 2024, employers may be able to recruit from a slightly larger talent pool. However, to attract both these candidates and the other 60% of professionals not actively seeking new opportunities, employers must offer competitive salaries, flexible work arrangements and opportunities for career advancement. These incentives are critical to enticing professionals who are content in their current roles but might be swayed by an offer that aligns more closely with their career and work-life balance goals. Learn more hiring insights in the full Demand for Skilled Talent report.   See 2024 In-Demand Administrative and Customer Support Roles and Hiring Trends See 2024 In-Demand Finance and Accounting Roles and Hiring Trends See 2024 In-Demand Human Resources Roles and Hiring Trends See 2024 In-Demand Marketing and Creative Roles and Hiring Trends See 2024 In-Demand Technology Roles and Hiring Trends
The Demand for Skilled Talent report by Robert Half is an authoritative source providing essential insights into employment trends. This report has offered a deep dive into the U.S. hiring landscape for over a decade, spotlighting challenges and strategies to attract and retain talent. It explores what employees seek in their careers, identifies common recruitment errors and suggests solutions. The report spans finance and accounting, technology, marketing and creative, legal, administrative and customer support, and human resources, proving crucial for business leaders and managers.