The November 2022 monthly installment of the Eye in ESI webinar featured TRU Staffing Partners Founder and CEO Jared Coseglia, Mike Quartararo, President of ACEDS and Maribel Rivera, VP of Strategy and Client Engagement, discussing the three most-requested informational metrics tracked by TRU in the ediscovery job market. This month’s session once again showed changes in speed of hire, salary averages, and workforce evolution.
Rivera started the session by showing the attendees the updated speed of hire slide:
JC: This slide shows the speed of hire for Q3 2022 midmarket, non-contract vendor jobs. TRU talent agents are noting that it is taking a little longer than last month to complete the hiring process. The timing is now up to 25-35 days – about 2x longer than Q1 and Q2. Some of our clients are going as high as 120 days, which generally means they have made offers to candidates that have been rejected, so they’ve reignited that search. Contract staffing is staying at the same rate. We predict that will increase in speed as we head into the first quarter of next year.
MR: People are noting the huge layoffs at Meta and Twitter, budget season is here, holiday season is here, lots of uncertainty – what do you predict going into the end of the year?
JC: I think we are safe to assume that there will be more layoffs coming, at least in Big Tech and some of the corporate sectors as well. Whether that will really impact the ediscovery community remains to be seen. Law firms have been losing the battle on hiring because they have been making people come back into an office. So they can’t afford not to continue to hire.
Most of our law firm customers are hiring as aggressively as they were 30 or 60 days ago. The vendors are being a little more cautious. But the thing about law firm and vendor hiring is that these positions are generally billable to clients. If the need is real, those billable roles are getting filled. TRU talent agents are noting concern from candidates about first-in, first-out layoffs, but I don’t see that happening in this industry.
MR: Do you see the speed to hire slowing down even more?
JC: I think it will slow down a little bit more, but the speed for law firms should increase in the next 90 days because more candidates are going to become available to them as a result of potential layoffs. Law firms will be able to fill roles faster because candidates may be willing to compromise if they are out of work.
MR: Let’s move to the next slide:
JC: You’ll see that law firms are still paying an extremely high rate for senior project managers and other types of project managers. We’ve highlighted the top and bottom rows because these areas are where it’s going to be the most difficult to get into or move up. However, there continues to be a tremendous amount of opportunity in the nonhighlighted middle rows, at least for the next several quarters. TRU has hundreds of open requisitions across the US, Europe, and Asia for those roles. There is no drought of opportunity in these nonhighlighted areas.
MQ: I feel like the senior level roles are just dried up.
JC: We have a few at TRU that are open right now. But they are not from firms who are willing to pay the absolute top dollar of what the market will bear. So some of them are struggling to get talent to do the exact same job somewhere else because their salaries are outside the range.
MQ: Jared, are we seeing a correlation between ediscovery and the other fields you operate in like privacy and cybersecurity?
JC: Actually ediscovery jobs have maintained a far-stronger consistency of openness, not being withdrawn from the market as they have been in the privacy market. The majority of privacy jobs are in corporate America, and they aren’t always billable. While we anticipate open roles being pulled back more, we expect privacy jobs to go through the roof in the first quarter, especially in advisory areas and proactive roles. On the other hand, cybersecurity is an entirely different area. People have a hard time breaking into the business and the open roles tend to be for those who are experienced.
MR: Let’s move to the next slide:
JC: We have seen a slight uptick this month in more entry-level roles in ediscovery. Either organizations can’t get the PMs at the level they need and are downgrading their expectations of experience to get talent, or they are looking to increase margins by billing out at their regular rates but by paying less for less experienced staff.
MR: So let’s talk about workforce evolution. There’s a lot on this slide: JC: For 2022, these numbers are new and up to date. The 89% comprises fully remote and hybrid with about 70% of that number being fully remote. Contract staffing is starting to tick up because of the impending recession. We think it will go up higher than it has ever been in the first and second quarter of next year. Companies that have fired people are going to hire them back as contractors to backfill all the outstanding work that needs to be done. That’s how they’ll be able to get work done without salaries hitting their bottom line. We expect that vendors will aggressively use contractors to plug experienced talent into billable roles. Law firms will hire contractors particularly if they are struggling to fill their FT roles.
The lifestyle contractor pool for ediscovery is a much larger talent pool than it has ever been. This has been exacerbated by the pandemic where people left full-time employment, started contracting and never stopped because it fit their lifestyles. TRU believes our customers will pull from this talent pool aggressively beginning in the first quarter of next year.
The session ended with a discussion about why contractors fit so well into the ediscovery marketplace and covered the many advantages of working as a contractor in the industry. TRU Staffing Partners offers ediscovery professionals a wide array of contracting options that help advance careers and offer impact opportunities to both candidates and ediscovery firms. Reach out to us today to learn more.