Research commissioned by international law firm Simmons & Simmons suggests that employee happiness is a greater priority for law firms in Ireland, with almost all (96%) of employees stating that their happiness is a primary concern of their firm.
This contrasts to 74% globally and only 59% for Britain. In addition, 84% of those surveyed in Ireland also believe that their firm supports their career progression, and learning and development.
The ‘Happiness in Law’ survey was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Simmons & Simmons and covered 1,600 employees globally, with the goal of capturing attitudes towards the drivers of happiness in legal workforces
Higher staff turnover
It showed that, despite employee wellbeing being prioritised, turnover among Irish employees is higher than their international counterparts, with almost two-thirds (61%) planning to switch firms within five years.
In addition, long tenures are increasingly unlikely in Ireland, with 93% planning to switch within ten years.
The survey revealed the important values driving happiness across legal workforces, and how this differs across age groups.
All respondents under 35 in Ireland say it is more important to work for a firm that provides a supportive and inclusive environment than one that pays very high salaries.
In contrast, only one-third (33%) of those aged 45-54 say these values are more important. 78% of those surveyed say they are happy with their work-life balance.
The survey also showed how happiness diminishes as employees get older. While 100% of those under 35 say they’re happy at work, this drops to 55% for those aged between 35-55. Overall, 71% of Irish employees are happy at work, in line with the international figure of 72%.
Fionán Breathnach (country head of Simmons & Simmons in Ireland) said: “The findings of this survey provide encouraging signs of how law firms in Ireland are prioritising employee wellbeing.
“However, we also need to be mindful of the warning signs around employee turnover, and the trend toward declining happiness as careers progress.”
He added that, for the next generation of employees, values such as inclusivity and providing a supportive environment are a priority, and will be key to retaining talent in the legal profession in future.
“While salary is still important for many, it is just one aspect of a career that needs to provide fulfilment, career progression, and good work-life balance,” he said.