The ediscovery job market is still going strong despite fears of a recession. Recently, Mike Quartararo, President of ACEDS, and Maribel Rivera, VP of Strategy and Client Engagement for ACEDS and I met for our monthly Eye on ESI webinar and discussed the three most-requested informational metrics tracked by our talent agents at TRU Staffing Partners. The data we’ve collected shows that although the speed of hire is slowing slightly for midmarket, non-contract jobs, many opportunities still exist. Here are some of the highlights we discussed.
Speed of Hire
TRU talent agents are noting that it is taking up to 25-35 days to complete a hiring process from initial contact to offer acceptance. In some cases, the speed slows to 120 days for those who are hiring but have made offers to candidates that have been rejected due to in-office mandates. Contract staffing is continuing at a regular pace, but we expect that to change.
Prediction 1: We predict a sharp increase in contract hire speed as we head into the first quarter of next year.
As the economy slows, there will be more layoffs in Big Tech and in many of the corporate sectors. However, the recession may not adversely affect the ediscovery industry in the same way. Most ESI pros are billable for client work at both vendors and law firms. Law firms are still trying to hire for many types of roles and have been losing the battle because they are enforcing in-office mandates. They can’t afford not to continue to hire.
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 2023. 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 full-time roles.
Prediction 2: Law firm hiring will increase in speed during the rest of 2022 and into Q1 2023.
Hiring in general will slow down a little bit more, but the speed for law firms will increase in the next 90 days. As more layoffs occur, more experienced candidates will become available. Law firms will be able to fill roles faster because candidates may be willing to compromise on previously steadfast things (like avoiding in-office mandates) if they are out of work.
Salary Averages by Region
The two areas highlighted in red above are the groups we have determined to be the hardest to break into and the most difficult to move away from. The unhighlighted areas in the middle of the chart are where TRU recruiters are seeing most of the opportunities right now. Law firms are still paying very high rates for senior project managers and other types of project managers.
Prediction 3: There will be enormous opportunity for ESI analysts, specialists, project managers, coordinators, consultants, and senior project managers in the next six months.
TRU has hundreds of open requisitions for those roles. There is no drought of opportunity in these highly sought-after areas. These ediscovery jobs have maintained a far-stronger consistency of openness and are not being withdrawn from the market as other industries have experienced.
For 2022, these numbers are new and up to date. The 89% comprises fully remote and hybrid with most of that number being fully remote placements. As the workforce evolves, especially after the pandemic, we are seeing that a “gig” economy take hold within many industries – ediscovery included.
Prediction 4: The “gig” way of working will increase as full-time employees are laid off and turn to contract work.
There are organizations that will not let full-time employees work from home but will let contractors do so – this solves their problem of not being able to fill open positions.
TRU customers like working with our contractor pool of ediscovery pros because they have the advantage to flip a switch and bring on an experienced person into their team who is billable from day one and can make an instant impact. These people are potentially niche in expertise to address a customer or institutional problem.
Contractors can immediately augment existing staff without having to do much training or pre-prep to become billable. Our clients also like the ease of “unplugging” these people when a project is complete, or the role doesn’t work out. Customers can experiment with talent to gauge how it can best be used. Many TRU clients use our highly specialized contractors to train or uplevel their existing staff by teaching them to use new tools and apps they require expertise for. These contractor specialists come in, do the training, then step away to the next role.
Also, if a law firm doesn’t know how long a case will last, it can be difficult to get the full-time approvals needed for support help. Using TRU contract litigation experts are a short-term fix to increase billable hours and get all the work done.
TRU offers benefits to contract employees after 90 days with up to a 4% match on 401k, which we allow to vest 100% after a year. That’s part of our incentive to attract people and give them some comfort in investing in themselves.
The webinar ended with Mike, Maribel and I discussing the many ways candidates can invest in themselves to become more marketable to ediscovery organizations. Tips include getting certified in the areas of your choice through ACEDS’ many offerings, exploring the ways you can bring impact opportunity to potential employers, and watching the industry trends as we have shown here. Reach out to TRU Staffing Partners to ignite your career search or to hire the expert help you need to be strong in this wavering economy.