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New Trends Show Pendulum Swing Back to Full-Time Hiring and Need to Remedy Burnout

TRU Staffing Partners May 15, 2024 at 10:00 AM

May’s Eye on ESI webinar, hosted by TRU Staffing Partners’ Founder and CEO Jared Coseglia, ACEDS’ President Mike Quartararo, and ACEDS’ VP of Strategy & Engagement Maribel Rivera, unpacked the latest round of trends and predictions affecting the ediscovery job market in Q2 of 2024.

Coseglia: We’d like all participants to download the free 2024 eDiscovery Jobs Report from our TRU Staffing Partners website. This handy report provides a very in-depth overview of what has been happening in ediscovery since the end of the pandemic and how we recalibrated as an industry and a community in the job market since.


Some of the data in today’s presentation comes from that Ediscovery Jobs Report. But we are halfway through the first month of the second quarter and we have some new trends to discuss as well:


The first is that ESI organizations are now cautiously optimistic about investment hiring and that optimism is driving direct hire acceleration. Ediscovery really stands apart from other industries this quarter with the amount of full-time hiring that’s out there relative to contract work—meaning there is more of it than in past quarters.

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Second, if you are looking for jobs or looking for talent in the $80k to $100k range, we’re starting to call that the “sweet spot” or the “dead zone”. There is high demand for ESI pros at that level and lack of supply in that segment. People don’t stay in that salary range for very long in ediscovery.


Third, motivations for changing jobs have really changed over the last 60 days. What we can categorically say now is that when people come to us seeking employment, things that are driving them are burnout, feeling understaffed/overworked, or being underpaid or undervalued. But there is dissatisfaction driving job seekers to the marketplace as opposed to opportunism, which is a definite shift in the minds of ESI pros.

Throughout the first quarter of 2024, the data on the above slide showed the main motivators for ESI pros changing jobs. In Q1, TRU recruiters spoke to more than 2,000 job seekers. More than half of them wanted to work remotely. However, many job seekers were also motivated to seek new roles based on a high level of burnout at their current jobs. Then things changed dramatically last month as shown on the slide below.

All other concerns, including remote work and wanting more money became less important than trying to alleviate the burnout job seekers were experiencing in their current roles. Burnout surged to No. 1. ESI pros view their organizations as understaffed, feel they are overworked, underpaid or undervalued, their quality of life is poor, and they are being asked to come into an office when they want to be remote.

Fourth, we’ve got a slow move toward a candidate marketplace. I can tell you that for the past 18 months, it’s been very much an employers’ marketplace. We saw that happen in a very dramatic way in Q4 of 2022 when tech layoffs loomed, and fears of recession took over. That changed hiring practices, and in 2023, there was a surge of contract hiring instead of direct hiring. Now, we’re starting to see things move back to candidates receiving multiple offers at the time of departure, they are also negotiating more, asking for more money, and not just taking the first offer they get. This is drastically different than a year ago. We predict by the end of the year, it will be a full candidate’s market again.

Quartararo: Jared, I’d like to unpack that a bit. We talk about a candidate’s market or an employer market. What does that mean in ediscovery?

Coseglia: What it means is people are going to be able to negotiate higher increases in salary at the point of hire because there are more jobs available and competition for their talent is increasing while supply for their talent diminishes. When demand increases for a certain bracket of the market, the people searching in that bracket tend to get higher increases in salary, requiring employers to pay a little bit more because the candidates have more options.

They may use those options to get the best offer and make more money from the employers they want to work for. We went 180 days last year, which is the longest period of time we’ve ever gone at TRU, without any of our candidates receiving a counteroffer from their current employers. That is unheard of. Now, we’re seeing candidates get counters and receive multiple offers.

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For the most part, people are still accepting the first offer they receive, which shows the importance of being efficient and deliberate with your hiring process. Speed is part of it, but deliberateness is part of it too. Candidates who have multiple offers want to feel like an employer really wants them. Some of the more ethereal things like tone, deliberateness, high communication levels during interview processes, and follow-ups help too.

Fifth on the TRU Trends slide is sales professionals, project managers, and ESI attorney roles lead demand from ESI employers. ESI attorneys are rarely in the top list. There is strong demand for top negotiators and litigators in both corporations and law firms. The proportionality of roles like that compared to the operational roles in ESI is changing. In corporations, ESI attorneys are expected to do a bit of everything, while in law firms they are allowed to specialize more, which is appealing. The outlined areas in the slide below indicate which roles are most in demand along with the current salary averages.


Our last trend for this month is not surprising: fully remote roles fill five times faster than hybrid and nine times faster than those roles that are fully in-office. This is guidance for hiring managers who are trying to get people in an office every day. If it’s four days or more, it will take you almost 10 times longer to fill open roles. Remote roles are extremely appealing.

As the data shows throughout the webinar, now is the time to capitalize on this trend toward direct hiring, especially if you are in the “sweet salary spot” or in sales, project management, or are an ESI attorney. Reach out to the talent agents at TRU Staffing Partners to get started today.


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