Is it really that difficult to change the circumstances in law firms in such a way that employees want to stay? Again and again it seems to emerge that managers are too close to the action and do not recognize the obvious: employees who are already on the verge of taking off.
Image and Dissatisfaction: the Reasons Are Well Known
A look outside the box: The American Wall Street Journal reports that more than 300,000 American accountants and auditors have given up their jobs in the last 2 years. Young talent is lacking because (quote) “While some math students are attracted to accounting jobs, the field still suffers from the stigma of being uncool, doing boring work, and having discouraging hours,” said Keith Wolf, General Manager Houston-based recruitment firm Murray Resources.
It should now be clear why there are fewer young people than necessary for professions in the field of accounting and tax consulting: The profession has a dusty image, career paths are steep and difficult to climb, working hours are long and deadlines are stressful – but the big money is not necessarily beckoning.
The five “big” reasons why law firm employees resign despite staff shortages:
- Stress brought on by excessive workload and extended hours at work
- Lack of opportunities for work-life balance
- Sluggish development opportunities with low salary
- General fears of technical progress
- Working environments that are no longer sustainable
1. Stress Caused by Long Working Hours, Deadlines and Overwork
According to a survey by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the threat of burnout is the most common reason why accountants quit their jobs. It won’t look any different in Germany. Anyone who constantly has to work overtime to catch deadlines and additional work begins to suffer from the excessive workload and will eventually pull the ripcord before or in burnout.
Law firms can do this: Instead of burdening employees with routine tasks, rely on automation, digitization and self-booking clients.
2. Lack of Opportunities for Work-life Balance
Long working hours and constant stress not only lead to physical exhaustion, but also reduce the quality of life in private life and make it impossible to find a good balance between office and private life. The pressure is even greater when balancing family life with children with workload or additional responsibilities such as caring for elderly relatives. Demanding hobbies are eliminated, others cannot be pursued.
Law firms can do this: Enable remote work in the home office if employees wish for it. Provide financial support for childcare.
3. Sluggish Development Opportunities With Low Salary
In many law firms there are few or hardly any opportunities for advancement for most of the employees. Despite the high technical requirements and sometimes enormous workload, the jobs of accountants and tax clerks are not among those where really good money is earned and often further training does not make a decisive difference.
This is what law firms can do: pay higher salaries and define strategic development opportunities with employees.
4. Fears of Technological Progress
Technology is making such rapid progress that people are concerned that it will soon be replaced by machines or AI. Not all employees are ready to go through a development with technical advances, paralyzing fear of the future contributes to this. They would rather quit than meet the requirement or learn how to automate tasks from them without being replaced.
This is what law firms can do: Face the fears of employees, inform and enlighten them and involve them in the selection of tools.
5. Working Environments That Are No Longer Sustainable
If a law firm is not ready for digitization and its many possibilities, the employees also recognize promptly that they do not have a job with a future. Because only an innovative and modern law firm can face the demands and the competition in the long term and therefore also find other specialists.
This is what law firms can do: Digitize. Both the clients and the internal processes and procedures.