With the Credit Crisis looming in the UK, legal recruitment agencies are striving to find ways to escape its grips. Meanwhile, a five hour flight away is the United Arab Emirates; where the fast rate of economic growth means that legal jobs are arising quicker than a blink of the eye. So is it time for the UK legal recruitment industry to tap into the Middle East legal job market?The Recruiter recently reported that last year there was a 7.9% increase in the total number of employees in the UAE and this figure represents growth in a variety of sectors. While many legal recruitment agencies have already opened up offices in the Middle East to take advantage of these opportunities, there still seems to be a gap in the market for niche, sector specific agencies – legal recruitment being one of them.There are a number of factors that suggest legal recruitment in the Middle East would be a highly profitable venture. Perhaps the most obvious is that the increasing demand for common law, qualified solicitors in the labour market with numerous job vacancies for banking, corporate and constructions solicitors.Also there is the fact the fact that the UAE are an oil rich country combined with the current cost of oil – many more doors have been opened up within the legal market; a higher demand for Private Equity Lawyers, an arising need for energy, fuel and gas solicitors and commercial solicitors – to name but a few.With law firms, and indeed, companies trying to cope with the fast pace of expansion, legal recruitment agencies will be a valuable tool throughout the process.However, in order to be successful in the legal recruitment market, legal recruiters must be able to source the personnel. The large presence of international legal practices in the United Arab Emirates make it fairly easy for legal staff in the UK to relocate – and together with tax-free salaries, large bonuses and most importantly, the prospects of sunshine; this may seem like an enticing proposition! Also bearing in mind the growing number of redundancies in the UK within sectors such as property law, there is no shortage of UK legal staff on the look out for stable legal jobs offering good future prospects. However, while the pros of relocating to the Gulf seem endless, one must not forget to look at the downsides – whilst salaries are tax free, the cost of living in the Gulf is notoriously high. The Economist noted a 30% rise in house prices in 2006 and a further 17% increase in 2007 but the government is attempting to regulate the cost of living by capping rental increases at 5%.In addition to finding legal staff to fill Middle East vacancies, legal recruitment agencies must also be able to employ valuable recruitment consultants. Nevertheless, this does not seem to present a huge problem as it has been suggested that up to 75% of recruitment consultants in Gulf have actually relocated from the UK. Since legal consultant’s salaries are generally commission based, the Gulf presents the perfect opportunity to earn some hefty bonuses with a big deal never far out of sight.In conclusion, the Middle East seems like the perfect solution to benefiting from the tough legal recruitment climate in the UK. With the small amount of competition, and the market still set to grow significantly over the next few years – there couldn’t be a better time for the UK Legal Recruitment industry to take advantage of the Middle East’s buoyant legal job market.
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