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Tax and private wealth services on the path to gender equality, says survey


Executive search specialist Wilkinson Partners and international law firm Withers have collaborated on the second in-depth survey of lateral partner movements in the tax and private wealth market.

The review has revealed a more buoyant recruitment market in 2015, with 81 hires resulting in a 27 per cent increase in activity on the year before. Behind this headline figure lie some interesting trends, including 7 per cent growth in hire of female partners, leading to a one in three balance of women against men in the lateral hire population, as well as a 19 per cent increase in UK partner hires by US law firms; and 20 per cent growth in hires outside London.
Tom Wilkinson, Managing Partner of Wilkinson Partners, says: "Our lateral hire review is building into an authoritative view of trends in the market.  Our immediate finding is that the volume of lateral hires continues to grow, reflecting the resurgence of the transactional market, as well as the continuing demand for high quality tax advice.

"However, the most interesting finding for us is the significant jump in the hire of female partners.  There's no denying that moving from one in four female lateral hires to one in three is a major step, and we believe that it provides evidence of an unstoppable trend towards equal gender representation in professional services."
Daniel Isaac, partner in Withers' employment team, adds: "The research has found that 95 per cent of last year's lateral partners are still at the same firm, and it will be fascinating to see how this figure fluctuates over the next few years.  My experience is that firms often fail to assess lateral hires in a systematic way. Rather than looking carefully at the individual's strengths and performance, people frequently put far too much importance on the candidate's business plan and the work they promise to bring with them.  Indeed, many firms almost encourage exaggerated promises, by demanding candidates who can deliver a large following."

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