Jacqui Musson looks at the advantages to be gained from working as a locum in the local government sector.
Many of us take solace from the everyday; the commitment to a long term career within one organisation provides security, comfort and familiarity. When your job has always formed the standard Monday – Friday, 9-5(ish) routine, it’s easy to forget that actually not all jobs are the same.
There are a growing number of local government lawyers in the UK who don’t work in the same way as you do. They like to mix things up, look for new challenges, take a chance with their career, and score highly with their hand… They are locums.
It’s common knowledge that the post-recession austerity measures in the UK put enormous pressure onto local government budgets; the result was a decrease in permanent positions across the board, and the creation of temporary positions as a short-term solution.
The recession may be over, but the need for short-term staff is as buoyant as ever, with employers exercising caution in long term hires.
The private and public sectors alike have woken up to the opportunities that a short-term placement can have for their teams, not only for covering holiday or maternity leave, but also to bring specialist skill sets to the department during times of increased workloads in specific areas. For example, as the housing market booms, so does the need for property lawyers as local authorities require help with disposals and the selling of land.
So, what do lawyers find so attractive about working as a locum? Hannah Cottam, Director of Legal recruitment at Sellick Partnership has placed locums into the public sector for over ten years and understands why this career choice can be so appealing.
“The benefits for a legal professional are very attractive. A reliable and high-performing locum can demand a greater salary, but also dictate the terms of the position – ensuring flexibility with the length of each contract, as well as negotiating their working hours and holiday.
“In fact, many of our locums will decide to take extended leave periods each year, giving them opportunities to travel or to manage their home life around school holidays.”
Not only are the opportunities for ensuring work life balance clear, but working as a locum can also present great career opportunities. Hannah says “We are often approached by lawyers who have been working in one specialism for an extended period, and have itchy feet. By understanding their long-term career goals, we’re able to position them in roles with room to grow and expand their experience. Becoming a locum in the short-term can lead to long-term gains.”
As well as boosting experience, locums also find that working in high profile areas for a short period can help to build their professional brand, with contracts extending for several years or even becoming permanent.
“Ultimately, working as a locum isn’t for everyone.” says Hannah. “But for those that fear being stuck in a rut, are ambitious for change or even those looking to balance their work and family life, the benefits are clear.
“At Sellick Partnership, we are market leaders in providing public sector locums. For the last decade, my team have built up an enviable reputation working with local government, as well as the NHS and other public sector groups. Our method is to work with our candidates to understand their professional needs, their personal challenges and find them a role to move their career forward.”
Jacqui Musson is a Marketing Communications Executive at Sellick Partnership.