The COVID-19 crisis left its mark on numerous businesses, including the legal industry. According to the latest data, 58% of the organizations have suffered some sort of labor shortage during this period. Furthermore, 18% of companies lack staff.
According to The Barnes Firm, a team of personal injury lawyers committed to finding the best legal personnel through The Barnes Firm careers page, finding the right candidate for a position is the main reason for fluctuations within the industry. The selection process is rather arduous, lasting five months on average. Even when a company finds a suitable employee, it is hard to retain them.
The shortage is not only specific to the US legal industry. It is noticeable in other professions and countries. Like the United States, Australia, the UK, and the EU have suffered greatly during the last year. Although the number of openings has increased compared to Q4 2019, approximately 9 million people are still without a job.
Unemployment as a Conscious Choice
While many experts focus on various economic factors as to why young people are not working, it is also important to consider the social impact. A sizable part of the unemployed population doesn’t work because they choose not to.
Since the onset of the COVID crisis, the unemployment numbers have been at 5.9%. This is almost a 50% increase compared to a 3.9% unemployment rate pre-COVID.
Mental health professionals often connect this with anxiety, depression, and other conditions that affect young lawyers. According to them, the trials and tribulations of the past year have left them unmotivated. A lot of people have lost loved ones, affecting their ability to join the workforce.
The most worrisome thing about these stats is that a good percentage of these people are not active on the job market. They are not applying for new positions, nor have they considered starting a private business. This is troublesome news not only for the legal profession but also in other fields.
However, some speculate that the change also has to do with the general attitude that new generations have towards working. Many are unable to join the workforce because they have the wrong approach to labor and earning. While this is less noticeable within the legal industry and among the highly educated workforce, it is still an issue that cannot be neglected.
Considering the Losses
As grim as it may sound, it is necessary to consider all the losses due to COVID-19.
According to Greta Creech, an expert working for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, 600,000 people died during the pandemic. Most of them worked beforehand, so their deaths skewer the employment numbers.
There are several reasons why it is hard to interpret this data. First off, while the majority of pandemic victims were elderly, some of them were still employed. Based on the article from 2019, approximately 20% of people above 65 were active on the market. So, their deaths could have an impact on the employment percentages.
A large number of these individuals had higher education. This puts them in the category of lawyers and other law firm employees. In most cases, these professionals worked as consultants paving the way for younger generations. Their loss has a major impact on employment numbers and the future quality of work within the industry.
While a lot of focus is on older individuals, it is worth noting that a lot of lives were lost among younger generations. The data suggests that more than 260,000 working people died during the last year or so. This also includes lawyers from 18 to 65, some of which in their prime.
Another issue is that the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing. The data changed from hour to hour, and researchers would have to wait for its end to analyze the numbers.
What to Expect in the Future?
According to Labor Department data, the US legal industry added 4,700 jobs in October. This is not a separate occurrence, as other industries have seen an increase in both September and October. Economic experts suggest that the trend is noticeable across the board, and as the economy heals itself, there will be fewer unemployed legal professionals.
The data indicates there are currently 1,152,600 people employed within the sector. Although this is an increase compared to September, it is still lower than the previous year’s maximum of 1,165,300 jobs, which could be seen during February 2020.
The most important thing for the US economy is that the overall unemployment numbers are slowly declining. Again, they are higher than February 2020, but as the COVID-19 crisis is resolved, experts believe that employment will return to its pre-COVID percentage.