As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to present new privacy challenges from mandated vaccinations to remote work, and new privacy laws and regulations emerge throughout the U.S. and across the world, the need for privacy professionals shows no signs of slowing down.
In fact, the privacy job market is seeing the opposite, TRU Staffing Partners Founder and CEO Jared Coseglia and Hintze Law Founder and Managing Partner Susan Hintze, CIPP/US, CIPT, FIP, said during a LinkedIn Live with IAPP Senior Westin Fellow Omer Tene.
“I really think privacy has yet to hit its golden age, at least from a career standpoint. A year ago today, there was no hiring happening, there was stasis. We’re at the opposite of that now,” Coseglia said. “We’re at a premium competition for top-tier talent, mid-tier talent. It is a full-tilt hiring boogie out there in privacy.”
Hintze said the market for legal privacy opportunities is “red hot.” Clients are gearing up for implementation and enforcement, she said, and they need professionals to do that. In addition, she said the COVID-19 pandemic inspired many to think about their career paths, with some pursuing and embracing new opportunities.
“As people moved, opportunities opened up, so there’s a privacy shuffle going on right now, I’d say,” she said. “It’s a very hot market, a lot of work to do, and a lot of movement.”
For employees today, Coseglia said opportunities to work from home are “100%” at the top of factors they’re seeking. Employers who want employees working in the office full-time are experiencing a search process almost 14 times longer than those offering fully remote positions. The average time to fill a work-from-home privacy position is eight business days, he said.
“It’s impacting the job market no matter what industry you are in, and privacy is not immune to it,” Coseglia said, adding with the pandemic leading many to work from home for some time, “you’re looking at tons of nuances to what is motivating and driving people, and I think of the job market as an artery. It’s this clogged artery the minute you say you have to be in the office five days a week.”
While opportunities for top-level privacy positions at large companies may be harder to come by, Coseglia said there are a lot of opportunities in companies that are growing their privacy programs to not only be more compliant, but more competitive in the market. Mid-level positions like program managers and directors, privacy analysts and product managers, are the “hottest segment of the marketplace,” he said, and involve building, maintaining, or maturing a privacy program.
“So, people that know how to build a program, people that know how to run a program, people that know how to mature a program, will be in high demand,” he said.
While many companies seek candidates with privacy experience, legal counsel can break into privacy by seeking out roles that have some element of privacy work, gaining experience and growing into a full-time privacy role, Hintze said. And Coseglia said there are opportunities for professionals at companies establishing and growing their privacy programs.
“At a company where there’s a void of a privacy program, if you’re working there, put your hand up in the air, get involved, take the bull by the horns and before you know it, you’ll be a privacy professional and now you’ll have actual experience you can leverage for a job that might be a better fit, or vertical mobility, or more money or whatever motivates you,” he said.
Coseglia said professionals should not look at years of experience as “delimiters” in their job search and if companies craft a “well-written job description that speaks to the true desires and needs of the business,” it will attract the right professionals for the job. Hintze recommended flexibility around years of experience, noting an employer may not find someone with 10 years of privacy experience, but they may have 10 years of legal experience with a few years in privacy.
“I’d say nine times out of 10, I’ve had attorneys look at roles and say they’re looking for 10 years of experience, but I’ve only got five, should I apply? My answer is always, ‘Absolutely, yes,’” she said. “I am constantly counseling my clients when they are posting positions and asking me to look at their job description, if they are a 1,000-person shop and they’re asking for somebody who has 10 years’ experience, unless they’re a unicorn, you’re not going to get somebody with 10 years’ experience. It’s just not going to happen. There are only so many people who have that level of experience.”
Photo by Anna Auza on Unsplash
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