by Sellick Partnership | 11 July 2016
In a legal market that is becoming increasingly short of high-calibre candidates, it is important to consider all the options available to you when hiring for your firm.
One option often dismissed by hiring managers is taking on part-time workers. Part-time workers can often be on the same level as those wishing to work full-time and you could be missing out on a candidate who will be a fantastic asset to your firm if this is an option you have not considered before. The number of candidates looking for part-time work is growing for many reasons including childcare difficulties and a desire for an improved work/life balance whilst also gaining flexibility for outside pursuits such as community engagement and charity work.
There is no legal stipulation against an employee asking informally for more flexibility. Qualifying employees have a statutory right to make a formal flexible working request, and employers must consider their reasoning when making a decision.
My advice to employers is to seriously consider this option. Make a logical decision for your firm by considering whether it would be the right fit for you, the employee and if it will benefit the firm overall. Some suggestions to think about include:
- Firstly, consider the team that you are looking to employ into – would there be other fee-earners around to take calls from clients if needed? Can you build a strong team around them, with people covering different hours so that all the usual “9am-5pm” hours are covered?
- Test the water first, perhaps if you need to cover maternity leave, you could consider taking a part-time employee for that period and monitor the outcomes, saving costs.For an employee applying for a part-time position, take up references from previous employers to find out if they successfully managed their workload whilst working part-time.
- Consider a more flexible approach to hours, you could consider staff working five days a week but shorter hours allowing employees with commitments the ability to work around them.
- Consider term time only contracts, which are becoming very popular with working parents.
- To have a flexible/remote arrangement set up – consider providing system access from mobile or on laptops so people can work at home once other responsibilities are complete.
The positive news for employees is that the trend is moving in the right direction and a greater number of law firms and in-house teams are recognising the value of part-time employees. It is becoming increasingly difficult to attract and retain high calibre staff which is evident in the recent trends in recruitment, so this move is a welcome one. Opportunities are also growing at senior levels to work flexibly as consultants.
If you are looking for either part-time or full-time high-calibre legal professionals please get in touch on 0113 243 9775 or browse our latest roles on our website.