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As observed by the active securities market and business deposits in 2021, Hong Kong SAR has proved to be an ideal environment for deal making, sealing the promise of growth that we anticipate to see in the legal industry.

To meet the anticipated increasing demand for legal services, law firms in Hong Kong SAR hired more senior lawyers in the first few months of 2021 than what we have seen throughout 2020. In 2022, we anticipate more international and regional law firms to expand their headcount, particularly for middle to senior-level legal professionals.

movers in talent trends in hong kong's legal industry in 2022

1. growing demand for bilingual legal professionals in corporate, technology and ESG

There will be a higher demand for professionals who are business-proficient in Mandarin and have experience managing Chinese clients.

The data protection law will significantly restrict how personal data can be collected, used and distributed, creating greater demand amongst businesses for tech and data lawyers to advise them on data compliance and protection issues.

As more companies commit to environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG), we’ll see a greater demand for legal professionals with specialised ESG knowledge and skills. These are critical in helping organisations comply with changing requirements and disclosure obligations.

legal jobs hong kong
legal jobs hong kong

2. emerging industries for legal talent

Recruitment activities within the legal industry will pick up significantly in 2022, particularly for the following sectors. Legal professionals will be rising demand particularly for the following sectors.

  • Capital & derivatives market
  • Technology
  • Wealth management
  • Funds

2022 labour and salary trends for legal professionals

Due to the significant salary discrepancies between law firms and in-house legal teams, candidates moving from private practice to in-house roles could see a 15% to 30% salary cut. To compensate for lower salaries for in-house positions, employers will usually offer a more comprehensive and competitive remuneration package. This typically includes equity, work-life balance, a flexible and open working culture as well as better medical insurance coverage.

When switching between in-house positions, most lawyers consider a 10% to 20% salary increment to be reasonable. On average, legal professionals can expect to receive a 1 to 3 month bonus in 2022.

Candidates are placing greater emphasis on stability as having a sustainable source of income has become increasingly important during the pandemic. Candidates who do not feel secure in their roles will be more motivated to look for new opportunities and even opt for a reduced salary so they can secure a more stable job. There is also a growing number of candidates who are more insistent on negotiating their base salary expectations than before, particularly for those with in-demand skills and backgrounds.

download the digital copy of the Hong Kong SAR 2022 market outlook and salary snapshot

Hong Kong job market outlook
Hong Kong job market outlook

key highlights in the legal industry outlook in 2022

  • evolution of job responsibilities and required skills for legal in 2022. 
  • anticipated job mobility of professionals across industries and different levels of seniority. 
  • salary snapshots for more than 50 different legal jobs.

read more on 2022 talent and salary trends in Hong Kong in other industries:

The 2022 Market Outlook and Salary Snapshot report features the latest industry trends, hiring outlook, talent analysis and new post-pandemic salary benchmarks in the following high-growth industries:

If finding exceptional talent for your business is a key challenge or if you want to take your workforce ready for the future of work, please get in touch with us. You can also check our key areas of expertise in recruitment.

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