Some further comments from the Journal Employment Survey 2021

The feature on the survey is at this link. This is a further selection of comments posted.

Overall picture at your organisation

“If you worked it out as an hourly rate on the basis of the number of extra hours I’ve had to work, I would be paid more working on the tills in Tesco. I would rather have less work, and some vague semblance of a work/life balance than a higher salary.” (Female solicitor, large firm)

“We have had our flexitime temporarily (since March 2020 and counting) taken away... This means missing out on the potential for 18 additional days’ leave... such benefits are part of the reason to stay with a local authority. Without those, it makes the role less attractive.” (Female solicitor, in-house – local government)

“Very busy, positive, too much work for the number of fee earners. Unfortunately we have lost two female solicitors as the demands of working from home and childcare are too much.” (Female associate, UK/international firm)

“Lost huge numbers of staff due to better salary at PF. Cannot find new and qualified staff.” (Female solicitor, criminal defence)

“Recruitment difficulties causing huge spike in workload.”
(Male associate, smaller firm)

Current attitude to flexible working

“Lip service paid; in reality varies team to team.” (Female consultant, large firm)

“Mostly we are required to work from home but some office time can be applied for.” (Male director, large firm)

“Attendance at the office is still being discouraged (though I am doing it for wellbeing reasons)... Hopefully [freedom to choose] will be the case going forwards.” (Female solicitor, in-house, public sector)

“They won’t tell us.” (Female solicitor, in-house, local government or regional body)

“In practice, freedom is allowed for me and certain other classes of employee. However, there is no consistency of policy, with different parts of the business making their own rules about this.” (Male solicitor, in-house, commercial sector)

“Agile working previously but now hybrid as recognise that trust and the last year has confirmed that people can work from home and in fact, are more productive.” (Female solicitor, in-house public sector)

Is stress a significant issue for you?

“Stress is a big problem at the moment because there has been virtually no downtime, apart from between Christmas and new year. Even then I was contacted by the office by phone and email... we have had various other people in my department signed off, and then resigning, because of stress in the last couple of months.” (Female director, large firm)

“Stressful – previously manageable with holidays. Present situation where holidays themselves stressful and increasing workload in criminal defence particularly – with weekend courts etc – makes me concerned about ongoing ability to cope.” (Female director, civil/criminal legal aid, smaller firm)

“Stress is constant in this job and as a sole practitioner there are few avenues to turn to for realistic assistance... there is never any consideration given to how a sole employer is meant to keep coping with the constant pressures and demands of the job” (Female sole principal)

“I moved away from direct transactional work because the demands – the 7 day week, the 12 hour days – eventually had a significant adverse impact on my health.” (Female PSL, UK/international firm)


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