Job Outlook: Legal and Financial Industries Experienced Highest Gains


As a result of the recession in 2008-2010, U.S. jobs were lost, unemployment rates rose, and businesses made budget cuts. However, with the passage of some time, now in 2013, the economy and job market have recovered.  Although the economy is by no means close to pre-recession numbers, there is hope!  In May, 175,000 jobs were added, according to the Department of Labor.

Further, there is more good news – the jobless rates for positions in accounting, finance, and law industries are less than the national average, ranging from between 2% to 5%. And, these salaries in these industries are projected to grow by 3.7%.  Moreover, in April, the legal and financial industries experienced the highest gains at 13.6% and 13.2% respectively.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Job Outlook 2013 Survey, finance is expected to have large increases in hiring. Financial planners appeared on the Washington Post’s Best Jobs as number five, while accountants came in at forty-seven. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the number of jobs for Financial Analysts to grow 23% by 2020, Financial Examiners to grow 27%, and Accountants to grow 16%.

Specifically, the finance and accounting industry is developing new trends in hiring.  The finance and accounting job markets are seeing a trend towards greater specialization. To stay ahead of the competition, corporations and firms are seeking individual employees who are subject-matter experts.  This experience is crucial. Companies with tighter overheads are also looking for candidates who can wear more than one hat, those who can add value in more than one area to the company.

In the financial crisis, 8.7 million jobs were lost, while only 6.2 million jobs have been added since. Jobs are being added, but the adult population is growing at a faster rate. Combine that with hiring rates leveling out, it will still be a long time before the job market to completely recover from the recession, although, there is continuous improvement.

The job outlook for the legal industry is above average as well, but competition in the legal industry for jobs is fierce.  Now, more than ever, there are more law school graduates entering the workforce then available jobs. Forty-nine percent of law school graduates got jobs in 2011, compared to 50.9% in 2010 and 55.9% in 2009.  Thus, although there has been an overall decline in demand for legal services, but the number of jobs is expected to grow 10% by 2020.

Moreover, the legal industry itself has changed since the recession. When jobs were cut, firms began to hire on a part-time basis due to economic uncertainties and the declining demand for services.  As a result, the trend towards part-time and non-partner track positions will continue.  Nevertheless, even with that trend, as the economy now improves, overall hiring in the legal industry continues to increase.  Currently, because of the economy, the lateral market for attorneys (partners, counsel, and associates) is hot and there are great opportunities with the improved market tenure.

Accordingly, although some of these recessionary statistics seem stark, the good news is that the jobless rates for individuals with positions in accounting, finance, and law industries are less than the national average and are continuing to improve.  Businesses and law firms have increased hiring in the past two quarters and the market is up.  Further, the salaries in these areas are increasing, reflecting a further improved economy.





Lexacount Search is grateful for Katherine Colburn’s hard work and research assistance.   This posting would not have been possible without her exploration of this topic area.

By Lexacount Search

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Lexacount Search is a boutique recruiting and staffing company, focusing on permanent placement for legal and accounting professionals. We place attorneys, paralegals, accountants, and contract specialists with law firms and corporations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and nationwide. Equidistant from New York and Washington, D.C., our offices are located in suburban Philadelphia. Our search consultants have a range of experiences as lawyers, paralegals, law clerks, accountants and accounting clerks. These backgrounds make our consultants uniquely qualified to match your skills and career goals with permanent positions with our clients. Whether you are a lawyer, paralegal, law clerk, accountant, accounting clerk or other skilled professional, Lexacount will provide you with a variety of available career opportunities.

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