Shining a light on the legal sector’s diverse range of career opportunities is a key priority for leading South West law firm Coodes Solicitors, as HR Manager Becky Hosken explains…
Upskilling employees, creating an inclusive culture where a diverse workforce can thrive, and getting the message across that you don’t have to be a lawyer to forge a successful career in a law firm are just some of the ways we’re concentrating our efforts on attracting and retaining the right staff.
In a competitive jobs market, we need to go further and faster in opening new career pathways. Recruitment is tough, but it’s evolving and there are an exciting range of opportunities for employees at every level.
Take, for example, business support, IT, and administration – there are dozens of roles within the firm that play a critical part in everything we do. This experienced, specialist and talented workforce is the lynchpin of our future success.
Aspiring lawyers can enter the profession in many ways – while we continue to support the traditional Legal Practice Course (LPC) for aspiring solicitors, we’ve also embraced new routes to the solicitor qualification through the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), as well as growing the breadth and depth of our lawyers through alternative professional qualifications.
Not only that, but we’ve also had real success stories with our apprenticeships – having recently celebrated National Apprenticeship Week, it was clear that law might first be considered a difficult career path to get onto, but our apprenticeship scheme makes it easier. Many of our apprentices have worked their way through the ranks to establish successful careers at Coodes.
We take great pride in our culture and it makes us attractive to a diverse workforce.
Upskilling across the whole business is key, we know it’s important for retaining staff, and it’s vital for the business to stay ahead. We recognise personal development comes from more than qualifications, it’s working with the right people, learning from each other and the opportunities that present themselves day in day out.
We’re excited about establishing beneficial, reciprocal links with education providers. Engaging more closely with the education sector, highlighting opportunities for young people and opening doors at an early stage in their careers.
The post-Covid world of hybrid working has changed the way we do things – improving agile working practices is something we’ll drive forward over the next few years. But it’s about providing support and guidance along the way, so staff feel confident and empowered.
Being alive to the benefits of hybrid working is important, it offers benefits to our staff and our clients, but we also try, where possible, to offer flexible benefits giving employees the opportunity to tailor their overall package suitable to their current situation.
Whether it’s working hours, location, or additional benefits, being creative with reward and remuneration, ensuring the work place is welcoming, engaging with staff, understanding what they value most and what they want from us can only be a good thing – it’s not always just about pay.
Having the right work/life balance is fundamental and that’s why we’ve introduced significant changes to annual leave entitlement, in addition to increasing the scope of our holiday trading scheme.
Taking all these different factors into account will often mean, as an employer, you’re a more attractive proposition.
We’re proud to have a diverse workforce, of all ages and stages. From Boomers to Gen Z, we have four generations represented across the firm. It means experienced colleagues can pass on their knowledge and expertise to the next generation of young professionals, and each has a voice and a part to play.
But staying true to our values, our ‘employer brand’ and delivering on what we say we’ll deliver is the true test in attracting and retaining the right people for the future.