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State of the Industry: Legal and Compliance Staffing

Posted by Jeff Pelliccio on Nov 27, 2017 9:00:00 AM

In ICS insights

Every good hiring manager knows that it is essential to stop and take diagnostics from the market. This information will influence your decisions when it comes to staffing needs, yearly budgets, and making any adjustments to the structuring of the team. Even a small change in the industry could affect your hiring count for next year if that industry is extremely volatile. 

Over several weeks, ICS has featured blog posts reviewing the state of the various industries for which we provide services. This third installment examines staffing demand and trends for legal and compliance personnel.  

Legal Hiring Trends

As the overall U.S. economy has continued to pick up steam over the course of this year, demand for corporate attorneys, paralegals, and other legal personnel is generally strong in 2017. However, there is a new trend surfacing that could change the way you staff your company. 

Generalists are out, and specialists are in demand. Companies are increasingly adding new staffers who have specific niche experience and skills, including:

  • Employment Law. Companies with different classifications of workers, and those operating in multiple jurisdictions may benefit from an in-house employment law specialist. With employment laws changing (minimum wage, benefits, salary history ban, etc.) and legislation on deck in the house, senate, and localized governments, there will be a lot of changes to the law that will keep these specialists busy. Every company will need to hire an in-house employment law specialist because these laws span across every industry. If you have employees, you need to be protected. 
  • Healthcare and ERISA. Many organizations are seeking out legal staffers who can work closely with Human Resources to ensure the firm follows federal and state laws governing employee benefits. Nothing is set in stone yet in regards to healthcare plans for workers, but when it is certain, there will be plenty of paperwork and legal contracts to sift through in the office. You'll need specialists who can fully comprehend the complexities of healthcare. 
  • Tax. With tax laws potentially subject to change under the current federal administration, having legal specialists on staff to help interpret and guide the company can provide a measure of comfort. There is no indication whether the tax laws will simplify or become more complicated for businesses, so having someone who is familiar with both state and federal tax law will be crucial to taking advantage of every tax break and staying within the parameters of the law. 
  • Immigration. Hiring attorneys who understand the nuances of changing immigration laws can help companies navigate what can be difficult waters. H-1B Visa law is a great example of how these specialists can help. These particular visas may change during the current presidency, so it's critical that you have lawyers ready to step in if the legislation passes.  If your company is currently employing H-1B workers, you'll need these specialists to interpret these new rules.
  • Data Privacy. Cybercrime is on the rise. This risk needs to be assessed and remedied with a team that can help the company stay on top of its legal obligations in regards to cyber attacks or other unauthorized disclosures of clients', employees', or firm's data. GDPR is a big push for such laws referring to data. There have also been recent amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that make electronically stored information such as e-mails, instant messages, voicemails, e-calendars, graphics, and data on handheld devices discoverable in litigation. Complex litigation will be transformed from the increased cost and complexity of electronically stored information (ESI). Now companies can expect to hire new roles in litigation support, e-discovery, and trial technology to address these new developments.

Employers who staff up their legal departments with specialists in these areas may find themselves better able to proactively mitigate or eliminate potential legal challenges. It's crucial that they start hiring now before the demand leaves the talent pool scarce. Competition for these specialists will be tough, so it is advised that companies bring their A-game when it comes to their hiring process and offerings. 

Compliance Hiring Trends

Compliance hiring is often reactionary, adding specialists or generalists in response to new or changed rules or regulations, or in response to industry regulatory scrutiny. Examples of this would be changing hiring demands in cybersecurity, employee benefits, IoT, and healthcare. The number of compliance jobs in these fields has risen over the past several years and will most likely continue to grow as laws change and technology improves.

Desired skills, allocation of funds, and organization for cybersecurity companies will change

With security skill sets being scarce as it is, it will only continue to get worse. Enterprises are expected to generate more data than ever before in the next three to five years. That's plenty of data to protect and not enough talent to go around. Cybersecurity will demand new and fresh talent that have new kinds of skills as we evolve in areas such as data classes and data governance. Companies will also require new types of skills in data science and analytics. Artificial security intelligence will be necessary, and with it, there will be a need for those who understand the technology. Today's money should be spent on detection and response as opposed to prevention. Right now, it is impossible to stop every threat before it happens, but in the future, it may be likely to predict such events. If that's going to be in place someday, you'll need to restructure your operations and development team as one. Don't treat them as separate units because they rely on one another. 

Internet of Things (IoT) will increase demand for security

One of the most significant trends coming to fruition is the increasing amount of Internet of Things (IoT) devices entering the market. This will only continue to grow in 2018. While this market is emerging, companies have yet to master patching this technology. The result of this risk will be hackers taking advantage of weak security. Compliance professionals will need to consult with companies in order to keep data and other sensitive information safe. With the introduction of the GDPR, this will undoubtedly become a major issue for companies that aren't currently employing Data Protection Officers.  

Employee benefit changes are coming and so is the demand for talent

With ERISA and DOL compliance in effect, employers will have to have personnel on board to handle the complexities of employee benefits laws. It is almost certain that employee benefits will continue to change as the market favors businesses and economic growth. In order to get on top of the changes before they become a problem, it's essential that you hire these professionals ahead of time. Any missteps or violations could cost you dearly. 

Healthcare legislation will warrant compliance regulations

Similar to employee benefits, your company will need to be in compliance with the latest regulations or face some serious fines. Laws like HIPAA and other legislation down the pipeline require a compliance specialist who understands the ins and outs of each and every clause. They should be able to interpret, implement, and enforce the law to keep you and your employees in compliance. Healthcare compliance hiring will continue to be strong in 2018 amidst newly anticipated legislation from the federal level. In the meantime, make sure you have a plan in place to staff your company in case you need to handle an entire movement to a new system.

Is Your Company Ready For Legal and Compliance Staffing Demands

Whatever industry you are in, and whatever your legal and compliance staffing needs are, Infinity Consulting Solutions can help. We take a personalized approach to helping our clients find the right workers, rather than merely matching you up with potential staffers who look good on paper but may not entirely meet your needs. 

To learn more and to get started filling open legal and compliance positions, contact us today. 

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