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China’s legal jobs market set to grow as MNCs and firms expand their teams

Updated: 14 Apr 2016

Multinational corporations across most sectors and industries intend to hire Legal Counsels and Senior Legal Counsels for their growing businesses in the coming months, says recruiting expert Hays.      

In its latest Hays Quarterly Report for April to June 2015, the recruiter says the post-Chinese New Year period is a busy season for hiring in the legal profession.  While employers have finalised their hiring plans for the whole year and candidates have collected their annual bonuses, there are additional factors driving up vacancy activity in the legal sector this quarter. 

“Within the commercial sector we’re seeing a strong need for Legal Counsels and Corporate Lawyers,” explains Simon Lance, Managing Director of Hays in China.  “China’s economy is developing sustainably and many corporates are therefore looking for strong legal experts to support the business. In addition, local Chinese legal professionals can now work in the international market, and even be involved in global business strategy by supporting legal advisory both domestically and internationally.” 

But it is not only MNCs that are driving up legal job market activity in China. Professional practice firms are actively hiring too.   

“We’re seeing more urgent demand from legal firms for specialists in the areas of litigation, intellectual property and compliance, says Simon. 

Candidates are inclined to move into in-house legal teams where they can achieve better work/life balance while expanding their understanding of the in-house legal and compliance process, rules and guidelines.  

“On the flip side, experienced and veteran Lawyers prefer to remain with law firms as they can shape and develop their skills and experience to eventually become Partner.”  

According to the recruiter, Associates and Senior Associates with solid experience in corporate, mergers & acquisitions, energy and banking/finance are also sought by law firms.  

“We’re seeing a high demand for Senior Associates who specialise in corporate/ M&As as these deals are a core business activity at most law firms. Top law firms are also interested in Senior Associates who have overseas bar admission with work experience in the area of litigation and arbitration, as this can help companies grow their market share in China. 

“Also, Senior Associates who specialise in energy are needed as growth in the energy and oil & gas industry is creating demand. 

“Another trend behind current vacancy activity is the growing preference from private practice firms to recruit seasoned Legal Partners to help them grow organically in specific legal disciplines,” said Simon.  

For more insights on the skills in demand, see our Hays Quarterly Report.  

In China Hays operates from four local offices: Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou and Guangzhou. 

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people. 

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About Hays 

Hays is the leading global specialist recruiting group. It is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide.  

Hays Specialist Recruitment  (Shanghai) Co., Limited ("Hays China") operates across the public and private sector, dealing in permanent positions. Hays China’s eighteen specialisms span Accountancy & Finance, Banking, Architecture, Construction, Education, Engineering, Executive, Finance Technology, Human Resources, Hays Resource Management, Information Technology, Insurance, Life Sciences, Manufacturing & Operations, Oil & Gas, Property and Sales & Marketing. 

Hays China operates four local offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou and Guangzhou. It is the local representative office for Hays plc, which is a global company. As at 30 June 2014 the Group employed 8,237 staff operating from 237 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2014, Hays placed around 57,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 212,000 people into temporary assignments. 24% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific. 

Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA.