Having been paid to be nosy as a journalist for decades, I still have the habit of listening in to other people’s conversations, just in case there’s a story idea there.
This morning, standing in the peak-hour crush in an overcrowded train (not the one pictured left, that was my nicer going-home train), I overheard two middle-aged lawyers talking about the state of their industry.
It transpired that one of them worked for a huge company that I won’t name here. He was talking about job opportunities for lawyers.
There’s a big debate in Australia at the moment about how difficult it is for people over 50 to find jobs. However, there are also great difficulties for new graduates to get their first “proper” job. I hear it’s almost impossible for a fully qualified law graduate to find a job as a junior lawyer in Melbourne now, and you’re most likely to be paying to do another expensive course to get your articles, rather than finding a job as an articled clerk as most used to.
Anyway, this guy on the train said, “Graduates used to come in at entry-level and do all the research and initial leg-work for cases. No longer. It’s all outsourced. Can you believe that? It’s all outsourced overseas, and it’s much cheaper. But it’s just not the same. Mind you, my company still charges out to clients at $5000 a day, even for outsourced material.
“No wonder graduates can’t get jobs any more. And then more experienced lawyers are being brought in on what used to be entry-level rates, but they’re not doing entry-level work; they’re expected to do the work of a lawyer on a trainee-level wage.”
I suspect this is happening in many other industries, too.