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Hiring in Legal: Guide and Trends in 2024

In 2023, hiring volumes for legal professionals increased over the year prior, driven by demand across industries such as infrastructure, electric vehicles, downstream mining and healthcare. This comes on top of an already-tight talent pool, so demand for strong legal talent still outpaces available supply, observes Albertus Pratama, who specialises in recruitment for Legal and Government Relations professionals as a Senior Consultant at Robert Walters Indonesia.

However, hiring volumes were stagnant in some industries due to the tech winter that saw a number of prominent companies downsizing their workforce through a series of layoffs. As a result, some candidates re-entered the job market as they lost their jobs due to these redundancies.

Read on to find out more about Albertus’s expectations for Indonesia’s labour market and hiring trends for Legal professionals in 2024.

Hybrid work, contract hires on the rise

Although more companies are re-introducing full-time work-from-office arrangements, many candidates are still after hybrid work arrangements. In the year ahead, Albertus expects that candidates will feel more compelled to seek out new opportunities if their companies enforce a work-from-office mandate, or turn away from prospective employers that require them to show up in the office every day.

“Coming down from the tech bubble, companies are now careful not to over-hire. It is rather likely that we’ll see more companies introducing six months, or year-long contracts before deciding to bring an employee on permanently. This lets them hire candidates on a trial basis instead of providing permanent employment after the initial probation period,” says Albertus.

However, he notes that such contractual arrangements are less appealing to candidates.

Energy and manufacturing sectors take centre stage

Albertus is keeping a close eye on the energy and manufacturing sectors, particularly electric vehicles companies. These industries are expected to play a significant role in hiring activities for the year ahead. He also expects that law firms will place a bigger emphasis on finding lateral hires.

A wide range of skillsets remain in demand in the year ahead. Candidates with experience in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) transactions, debt capital markets, financing projects or infrastructure, and public policy and government relations will be at an advantage. Also prized is the ability to lobby senior stakeholders.

Roles that will be in high demand include project finance or infrastructure lawyers, M&A transaction lawyers, energy operations lawyers and government relations professionals.

Keep hiring timelines reasonable and understand employees’ motivations

Companies will do well to note that they may be at a disadvantage if they intend to reinforce full-time work-from-office arrangements, as candidates today prefer hybrid work models. The layoffs that ripped across the market in 2023 have also evoked a more cautious attitude among candidates, who are now more careful about new job opportunities as they want to avoid redundancies. 

Albertus’s advice for talent attraction in 2024 is for companies to strike a balance between time-to-hire and the selection process. 

Long hiring processes will affect success in hiring because good candidates don’t stay for too long on the market; they are so highly sought after. Four weeks is a reasonable length – any longer than that, and you may be at real risk of losing the candidate to another employer.

Employers should also provide pathways for career progression to keep their talent engaged, as this is a factor that candidates prioritise when considering to move or stay in their jobs. On this point, Albertus advises, “To retain talent, managers can run 360-degree performance reviews to dive deep into the employee’s career aspirations. Understand what they want and help them create pathways to achieving their career goals.”

Salaries to rise by standard rates

In 2024, salaries are expected to increase by usual rates as some industries implement corrections to align salaries to the market rate. Most candidates can expect salary increments of between 15 – 20% when changing jobs.

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Request access to our 2024 Salary Survey to benchmark salaries and to find out more about key hiring trends in Indonesia. 

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Albertus  Pratama

Albertus Pratama

Legal, Indonesia

Albertus recruits mid-to-senior legal and government relations roles in all industries. His years of experience as a commercial lawyer at a global law firm have given him a broad legal network.

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