Lawyers hardest working and most loyal professionals says survey

Lawyers are among the hardest-working professionals and are likely to stay with their employer for longer according to a career survey conducted by recruitment agency Robert Walters.

Only 30 per cent of lawyers surveyed said they would start looking for a new job after less than three years, down from 32 per cent in 2013.

Despite the recent flurry of lateral hires, the survey found lawyers to be among the most loyal professionals in the UK. They were less likely to move on than their peers in marketing, where 65 per cent would commence their search after three years or less and projects, where 60 per cent look for new jobs within three years.

As a group, lawyers were beaten in the hard work stakes by financial services and sales professionals, with financial services staff topping the table at an average of 47.7 hours a week.

But lawyers worked more hours per week (45.5, on average) than those working in marketing (an average of 43.2 hours per week), IT, human resources and accounting. Secretarial and support staff worked the lowest average number of hours per week, at 39.8.

Almost half of lawyers also worked harder than any group, with 42 per cent of lawyers putting in 50 hours per week or more – 2 per cent more than in 2013, and a significantly larger share than in marketing (21 per cent), HR (25 per cent) or accountancy (30 per cent).

The survey also found that professionals working longer hours also earned the most money, with those earning over £100,000 per year working an average of 49.2 hours per week compared to the under £25,000 salary bracket, who worked an average of 38.7 hours per week.

However lawyers claimed to put work-life balance above above pay and benefits when it came to career satisfaction. Six in 10 legal professionals said work-life balance was “very important” to achieving career satisfaction above pay and benefits, interest in the work (48 per cent) or status and responsibility (27 per cent).

Of those taking work home only 7 per cent took work home five days a week with the highest number, 22 per cent, taking work home just once a week.

When thinking about leaving for new jobs a lack of career progression was cited as the biggest push factor. Over a third (35 per cent) of all those surveyed said it would push them to look elsewhere whhile a difficult boss was the next biggest push factor, at 22 per cent. 

The 2014 Robert Walters Career Lifestyle Survey questioned 755 professionals on a range of career lifestyle questions, including attitudes to career progression, work-life balance, working overseas and their contribution toward the success of the business. 

Respondents were drawn from professions including accounting & finance, compliance, operations, IT, legal, HR, risk, marketing, projects, procurement & supply chain, sales, secretarial & support, tax and treasury.