Hiring continues with legal and compliance to be in high demand

In 2021, the Covid-19 pandemic had less of an impact on the hiring market for Legal than the year before. Most companies in Vietnam have adapted to the pandemic by now, carrying out their recruitment and onboarding virtually.

While in 2020, companies looked to outsource their legal functions to external law firms, in 2021, in-house legal positions were not put on hold, and companies were still hiring, particularly for trading and commercial offices in larger cities. In fact, we see some companies that have outsourced their Legal function in the past deciding this year to create new internal roles, like Legal and Compliance Managers.

Nevertheless, we did see a slight dip in recruitment when some manufacturing companies in Vietnam ceased operations over the past year, and all functions were affected, including Legal roles. 

Silvia Quirino, Manager of Commerce Finance, Legal and HR at Robert Walters Vietnam, provides an update on the hiring market in 2021, and forecasts what lies ahead for candidates and hiring managers alike in 2022.

Better work-life balance

Sylvia highlights, “In 2021, we saw more Legal and Compliance positions being created in-house, where the function was previously outsourced. In 2022, we expect that some MNCs will begin building their legal teams from scratch, leading to even more in-house positions. At the same time, candidates from law firms will also move in-house, in search for better work-life balance.”

“Finally, there will be a rising demand for specialists. In most companies, Legal and Compliance falls within one function, but this is changing, as some companies and financial institutions are splitting these roles,” she also adds.

Great demand for professionals with M&A experience

Sylvia shares, “Moving to next year, business-oriented candidates in Legal and Compliance will be in high demand. These candidates are extremely valued for their ability to translate and interpret the law for business stakeholders without legal backgrounds.

“With this increased emphasis on business partnering, candidates with strong communication skills in Vietnamese and English will stand out. Lastly, we also foresee a great demand for professionals with M&A experience – across both law firms and in-house positions, as companies in Vietnam look to merge and acquire new businesses for further growth,” she points out.

Be proactive in sharing information about company

Sylvia adds on, “In 2022, I would advise hiring managers to hire based on potential. If you come across candidates that may not exactly match what you’re looking for, but they show great potential and aptitude, why not consider developing them on the job?

She also recommends, “Companies should be more open to taking onboard lawyers coming straight from law firms. Nowadays, companies and law firms are very strict with their hiring requirements, requiring an industry background and technical skills. From a retention perspective, I’d also advise companies to try new tools and proactively share information about your company. Consider getting your line managers involved in shaping your company culture and employer brand. This helps to keep existing talent engaged and motivated, while also enhancing your employer brand for candidate attraction.”

Talent with strong language and communication skills, and international experience will be sought to work closely with headquarters and regional teams.

Salary increases for niche roles

Looking ahead in 2022, salaries will likely remain stable for support function roles, while there may be an increase of 10% in salaries for niche functions, such as M&A lawyers in both law practices and in-house positions.

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