YouGov poll reveals US firms lack pulling power

UK firms could be winning the battle for talent, as exclusive research by The Lawyer reveals that only 7 per cent of associates found US firms to be the most attractive employers.

Only 6 per cent of the 2,886 lawyers polled found US firms appealing as employers. Global UK firms were the most popular, winning 31 per cent of the vote.

Scott Gibson, US firm specialist at recruiter Hughes Castell, said: “There’s the whole baggage about the hours people have to work, but we’ve found that they aren’t much more than most magic circle firms’.

“There’s still this idea that US firms are tougher and that it’s harder to take holidays there. I suppose the perception is also that it’s not so easy to become a partner at a US firm.”

Rocketing salaries at UK firms have removed the monetary incentive to switch from a UK to a US firm, according to Gibson, who says: “The salary differential between UK firms and US firms, especially mid-Atlantic, is at an historic low.”

US firms lost out to niche firms, which were the most appealing employers to 18 per cent of lawyers, and also regional and UK-only firms, which scored 17 and 10 per cent respectively.

Associates at the biggest City organisations – those with a turnover of more than £250m – found US firms the most appealing, with 10 per cent of them thinking US firms were the most attractive.

Partners at those firms seem even more tempted by the riches on offer, with 19 per cent of them finding US firms attractive.

Among the mid-tier, £100m to £200m-turnover firms, only 6 per cent of associates regarded US firms as attractive, compared with 44 per cent favouring a global UK-based firm. Not a single partner in that band found a US firm attractive.