A year wrapped up: the Welsh legal public sector market throughout 2023

5 mins

During the last 12 months, I have been involved in numerous recruitment campaigns in Wales, both permanent and interim. These roles have played a crucial part in the delivery of public sector priorities and roles which have spanned local authorities, universities, central government organisations, as well as other non-departmental bodies. 

Looking at the big picture, the jobs market in Wales has gone from strength to strength. Throughout 2023, 74.8% of roles on offer were on an interim basis, with the remaining 25.2% being permanent requirements. There has been an almost 50/50 split between contentious and non-contentious areas of law. We saw, as is similar with their English counterparts, a consistent requirement for Safeguarding Lawyers, within both adult social care and childcare law, representing 25.4% of all requirements. This was closely followed by property, contracts and planning, making up 22% of all roles.

Looking to the future, some ambitious investments are being made in Wales. At the forefront is the formation of the four Corporate Joint Committees, which will focus on the strategic development of local areas, including the planning, transportation, and economic well-being of their regions. The Levelling Up Fund has levied £111m to Wales in the latest round of funding, including £9m allocated to turn a disused factory in Blaenau Gwent into a high-tech engineering campus for up to 600 students, providing state-of-the-art technology education.

This particular project will allow schools across the local area access to the campus, and the opportunity to benefit from guest lectures and specialist equipment; the hope is that this will inspire the next generation of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) employees in the region, helping to promote regeneration into the local areas and increase long-term career opportunities.

It is encouraging to see this level of investment in Wales, and the ambitious focus on initiatives such as STEM bringing greater educational opportunities to the area. In addition to this, project plans for new cycle networks and walking paths will allow greater access to the Welsh countryside, bringing an expected increase in tourism to the area. 

The fund is not only being used to create new opportunities, but also to repair and reinvigorate key local landmarks, restoring a sense of pride in the local communities. For example, there are plans in place to reinstate the Grand Pavilion in Porthcawl, something I imagine the local area will be incredibly proud of. 

There is no doubt that greater investing in key local areas will bring more job opportunities, but what does this mean for the legal sector? I would anticipate, as a starting point, an increase in the below:

  • Property Lawyers to deal with buying and selling land, purchasing of existing buildings, and other major project work.
  • Contracts Lawyers to deal with agreements and the procurement of services.
  • Planning Lawyers to help with change of usage for existing buildings or new rights of way.
  • Governance Lawyers to help write and develop new constitutions or governance for newly created authorities.

In short, it’s an exciting time to work in the legal sector in Wales, and with there now being little requirement to speak Welsh, the roles are more accessible than ever before. Even for the organisations that are Welsh speaking, they have fantastic translation services so that this is no longer a barrier to non-Welsh speaking legal professionals.

Have you thought about working in Wales? If you would be interested or would like any further information then please do not hesitate to get in touch with me for a confidential conversation using the details below:

Email: natalie.atherall@sellickpartnership.co.uk

Tel:  0161 834 1642