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Aon reveals the state of engagement in the legal sector
UK law firms behind the curve on employee engagement despite being in one of the best industries for employee benefits

LONDON (23 August 2018) – Aon, a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, has published a new paper looking at the latest trends in partner and employee engagement within the legal sector. ‘The state of partner and employee engagement in the legal sector’ covers trends representing nearly 10,000 professionals working in predominantly the UK legal sector.

Employee engagement measures the motivation of partners and employees to contribute to the success of their firm and to deliver outstanding client service. Aon’s research has found that on average only 52% of employees at law firms are engaged.

Partners are the most engaged demographic in the legal sector at 66% engaged, while associates are the most disengaged demographic in the legal sector with only 43% feeling engaged.

Hugh Hawthorne, head of UK Talent consulting in the legal sector at Aon, said:
“The overall figure of 52% engagement at law firms compares unfavourably with other professional services firms where on average 59% of employees are engaged.

“At law firms with higher levels of employee engagement, our research found that it was partners who tended to drive this higher engagement throughout the firm. Partners at these firms tended to not only be highly engaged themselves - but crucially were more likely to have the leadership skills necessary to manage and motivate others at the firm effectively. Employees who report into these engaging partners tend to be more positive about their broader working experiences including their perceptions of benefits, rewards and career opportunities.”

Jeff Fox, principal in Aon’s UK employee benefits consultancy, said:
“What’s interesting about these results is that on our strategic benefits benchmarking tool, the Benefits Score (which measures the choice of benefits, market competitiveness, cost effectiveness and fit with business strategy), law firms have the second highest average score of all sectors, at 65/100. It seems that while benefits in the legal sector tend to be excellent, low employee engagement may undermine employees’ perceptions of just how good they are.

“This highlights that there is an opportunity for partners at law firms to act on employee engagement and, in turn, to improve the perceived value of the benefits and rewards offered to employees.”

Hugh Hawthorne continued:
“The incentive to improve engagement within the legal sector is clear - organisations with high levels of employee engagement are more likely to perform better on key performance indicators such as talent retention, operational efficiency, client satisfaction and financial performance. For example, at one global law firm we found the most engaged departments on average enjoyed 33% less attrition compared to the rest of the firm.”

Aon’s paper provides the first overview into the state of partner and employee engagement in the legal sector. It aims to provide legal firms with insight about what they can do to engage more of their partners, associates, trainees and business services employees.


Media Contact
For further information please contact:
Colin Mayes                                Marina Sanchez
Aon                                             CNC
01372 733 689                              07535 693214       

About ‘The state of partner and employee engagement in the legal sector’

This paper uses data from Aon’s employee research database as well as data from Aon’s Legal Employee Engagement Group Study (which is open to any firm at any time of the year). Insights were gathered through interviews with professionals who work in the legal sector and the trends presented in the paper represent 10,000 professionals working in the legal sector from predominantly the UK, but also mainland Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas.

About Aon
Aon plc (NYSE:AON) is a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions. Our 50,000 colleagues in 120 countries empower results for clients by using proprietary data and analytics to deliver insights that reduce volatility and improve performance.

Aon announced in May 2018 it will retire the business unit brands of Aon Benfield and Aon Risk Solutions, which follows the retirement of the Aon Hewitt business unit brand in 2017. This move was designed to increase the rate of innovation across the firm and make it easier for colleagues to work together to bring the best of Aon to clients. Aon has five specific global solution lines: Commercial Risk Solutions, Reinsurance Solutions, Retirement Solutions, Health Solutions and Data & Analytic Services.

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