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‘Toxic’ work culture deters three-quarters of lawyers from accepting job offers

41% wouldn’t even apply if a job had bad reviews, research shows

New research has found that almost three-quarters (73%) of legal workers would not take a job at a company known to have a ‘toxic’ work culture, compared to just over half (57%) of those of the banking sector.

Two-fifths (41%) of people working in the legal sector said they would not apply for a job at a company that had bad online reviews, let alone accept an offer, and nearly half of those respondents (49%) said they would leave. a bad online review to warn potential candidates of a company’s poor work culture.

The study, conducted by software developer Culture Shift, found that 41% of nearly 100 legal professionals surveyed had witnessed bullying, harassment or discrimination at work, and more than half (55%) quit their jobs because of a negative work culture.

“Toxic” work practices don’t just impact a company’s recruiting and brand, research shows they can also impact a company’s bottom line. Two in three consumers (62%) said they would not use a reputable company to treat its employees badly.

“The true impact of a toxic work culture on an organization really cannot be underestimated,” said Gemma McCall, CEO of Culture Shift. “Whether it’s influencing future candidates and investors or affecting the lives of those who are victims or witnesses of bullying, problematic behaviors in the workplace often have a lasting impact on an organization and its employees.

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“The only way for organizations to reduce this risk is to commit to eradicating problematic behaviors in the workplace by putting culture at the top of their agenda,” McCall continued. “There will never be a one-size-fits-all approach for all organizations, but there are steps all leaders can put in place to ensure they protect their culture.”

Last month during Mental Health Awareness Week, the Junior Lawyers Division (JLD) and lawyer welfare charity LawCare renewed their calls for a culture change in the legal profession.

“Report after report has demonstrated that the general culture of law is detrimental to many young lawyers, leading to mental health issues such as burnout, depression, anxiety and (in the worst cases) self-harm. and suicidal thoughts,” said Suzanna Eames, president of the JLD.

Continuing, Farrer & Co’s attorney noted “during the pandemic that a company’s culture has a very significant impact on employee mental health, and positive leadership can have a real impact and can ensure that the legal profession is both fulfilling and sustainable”.

In January, a study by Culture Shift found that half of legal workers found their level of productivity hampered by a toxic work culture, and nearly two-fifths (38%) felt less engaged as a result.

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