Colour Splash Be-IT Blog

The crazy world of graduate recruitment

The crazy world of graduate recruitment

Posted on 24th May 2022

LinkedIn ShareShare

Spoiler alert!  This blog is not really about graduate recruitment.  However, it was inspired by a number of articles I’ve read this year about law firms paying graduates up to £150,000 per annum as a starting salary.  Now, tech graduates don’t, as a rule, earn anything like that humungous amount, although they can go on to earn such prodigious sums; however, what really made me sit up and think was another article headlined, “UK faces worst skills shortage since Second World War.”

This last article was a report of a presentation at Davos by Ricardo Barberis, the North Europe boss of Manpower, in which he commented that there are a lot of skills shortages (well, yes), and that his firm was using social media to reach a younger demographic (something that most recruiters have been doing for years).  However, of more interest was his point about “a major change in the skills needed for employment means companies are struggling to fill record vacancies.”  In essence, his argument is that, especially post-Covid, those who were previously unemployed are now unemployable, because as companies pivot even more towards increased use of technology, those who are unable/unwilling to learn new tech skills will be left behind.

What has this to do with lawyers and the starting salaries they are paying their graduates though? Well, while I suspect that most young lawyers, while not techies, are intelligent enough to understand and learn how to use technology better, the senior partners at many law firms are probably less adept and, in some cases, technology-phobic. Their belief is, and this is common to the ‘professions’ such as law and accountancy, that ultimately it is people with the experience of interpreting the law who make the difference. After all, the law is, contrary to what many think, not black and white.  If it were, we would never need lawyers, so, the cynic in me says, the legal profession has a vested interest in ensuring that ambiguity is baked into our laws. 

Similar arguments are advanced in many other areas of employment, including recruitment.  However, while I’m not saying that people will never be needed, there is no reason I can think of why a computer programme cannot sift, for example, all case law on a topic and come to the same or a better conclusion than a human.  At the very least, there is a strong likelihood that by the time the current, well-paid and more tech-savvy cohort of young, grad lawyers are only a few years into their careers there will be a move towards technologically-induced redundancies even in their exalted line of work.  I don’t say this with any pleasure: technological redundancy may be inevitable but that doesn’t lessen its impact, whether on the Luddites or on lawyers.  Even tech firms are going to have to face up to new challenges soon, with the current generation of start-ups likely to have to deal with the impact of their first downturn.  How we, as businesses and, more generally, as society, deal with this in the coming years is going to be one our biggest challenges in the next decade. And it's not as if the world doesn’t have enough really big problems to be going on with at the moment…

Michael Phair, Operations Director, Be-IT

Posted in Opinion, Recruitment News

.. Back to Blog

Be-IT Accreditations
Cookies and Privacy on this website
We use Cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you wish you can restrict or block cookies by changing your browser setting. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website.