Softworks Blog

Research Shows Flexible Working Could Be Key To Retaining Legal Staff

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Wed, Apr 17, 2013

The introduction of flexi-time could improve staff attraction and retention in law firms, according to research carried out by Douglas Scott

With the introduction of extended family-related leave in the UK, the company’s study shows that almost half of legal employees would like flexi-time, and that attracting and retaining more staff could be as simple as offering this as a bonus.

Douglas Scott surveyed legal staff all over the UK and found that only 19% of employees were on any sort of flexi-time arrangement at work, even though almost half of respondents (43%) put it on the top of their wish list of benefits. There was some variation across legal sectors though e.g. 73% of public sector employed respondents were on flexi-time as opposed to 16% in general practice, 13.6% in top 100 UK firms and only 11.5% in multi-branch private practice. Job role was also a factor with 20% of qualified candidates having the benefit of some kind of flexi-time arrangement as opposed to only 7% in legal support.

Female respondents valued the benefit of flexi-time more than men, with 51% of the former opting for it as their number one desired benefit, as opposed to 30% of the latter. And the Law Society Annual Statistical Report 2011 seems to suggest that women will soon overtake in terms of numbers of practicing Solicitors. In 2011 women made up 46.5% of Solicitors with a Practice Certificate, 63.5% of new traineeships and 59.1% of new admissions.

Mike Emmott, the CIPD’s employee relations adviser, comments that: “Most employers already recognise that flexible working is an integral part of the modern workplace and thus are happy to consider requests from any employee, even beyond the statutory minimum.” (

Kath Riley, MD of Douglas Scott Legal Recruitment, agrees and points out that flexible working hours could be the key to retaining more staff for longer: “We have discovered a contrast – that flexi time is not a popular benefit with employers but is with employees, particularly females. With women about to become the majority could flexi time catch on and will it be the key to better staff retention?”

Douglas Scott processed over £19 million of salary data when compiling their 2013 Salary and Benefits Benchmarker. The survey is carried out on an annual basis and tracks legal employees at all levels and in all types of practice throughout the UK.

Flexible working

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Topics: Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Flexible Working