As marketing and sales recruitment specialists, we support businesses and professionals across almost all industries and specialisms.
Our own Mark Harris leads our marketing and business development recruitment team within the professional services sector, plus our investor relations recruitment team across all UK sectors.
In his latest article, Mark discusses the UK’s legal sector comparatively high turnover rate within their marketing and business development teams – and what these businesses can do to fix it.
A turnover rate of 26% a year
Over the last 12 months, marketing and business development teams within the UK’s top 20 law firms grew by 8%. This isn’t a huge surprise considering that most UK law firms reported revenue growth throughout 2022 and could therefore invest in more experts. But growing and retaining a marketing and business development team in the legal market is not always simple or easy.
“UK law firms reported revenue growth throughout 2022 and could therefore invest in more experts.”
The turnover of marketing and business development candidates in the UK’s legal sector is 26% a year – considerably higher than the national retention average of 15%. Due to this retention issue, the top 20 legal firms had to rehire an average of 34% of their teams in 2022 to achieve this 8% growth.
Competing with the Big Four
The UK’s top ten accountancy firms grew their marketing and business development teams by 9% over the last year, similarly to the legal sector. But to achieve this, accountancy firms only needed to hire on average 21% of their teams – considerably lower than 34% within the legal sector.
The accountancy sector is different from legal in many ways – particularly because they are dominated by the Big Four: Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PWC. This group alone was responsible for 72% of all marketing and business development hires within the top ten accountancy firms and maintain a retention rate of 16%. So it isn’t necessarily a professional services problem and still doesn’t explain the retention issue in the legal sector.
“The accountancy sector is different from legal – particularly because they are dominated by the Big Four.”
So why is the turnover rate so high in legal?
Through recruitment expertise gained through our data and networks, we suggest there are multiple drivers:
- Career progression: the structuring of marketing and business development teams often creates a pyramid effect. While many professionals are keen to progress, there aren’t enough roles moving up the chain. So in many circumstances, it’s much easier to be promoted by leaving a business
- Salary: loyalty doesn’t always pay within the legal sector. Salaries are often increased far more through external opportunities rather than internally
- Job satisfaction: Between 40 to 50% of marketing and business development professionals in our network ask about available roles outside of the legal sector first – due to fear or repetition of job dissatisfaction
“40 to 50% of marketing and business development professionals ask about available roles outside of the legal sector.”
But what can be done about it?
The three main reasons people stay in their roles are remuneration, career progression and job satisfaction – which is particularly influenced by their relationship with their manager.
From our view of the market, we suggest that legal businesses focus on giving team members what they need before they’re enticed somewhere else. They might not even be actively looking but are receiving a constant stream of intriguing opportunities through multiple channels.
“Focus on giving team members what they need before they’re enticed somewhere else.”
To combat this, we suggest asking yourself three questions:
- Consider, do your team members know where their career is going and how to progress? As their line manager, do you know what they want?
- Are they being paid what they’re worth? We deal with many counter offers during the recruitment process but some salary offers contain an astronomical increase. This begs the question – if they’re worth that salary, why aren’t they already receiving it?
- Is your team happy? Job satisfaction is key to success for your business. Professionals need to feel valued and appreciated within their team and wider business. If they don’t have this, they won’t be happy. There will always be parts of a role they don’t enjoy, but businesses can outweigh these by focusing on what drives their marketing team members
“Professionals need to feel valued and appreciated within their team and wider business.”
Attracting and retaining the best talent
If you can get these points right, and it’s a big if, then no amount of bait will entice your prized marketing and business development assets away – so you can focus on growth rather than backfilling.
We often hear businesses discuss how to attract talent but they should also focus on how to retain that talent.
If you would like to find out more about the above, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with Mark Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org.