TRU Trends: May 2021

Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS)

First and foremost, the job market continues to favor candidates. There is simply not enough qualified talent to respond to all the work to be done in e-discovery. We are seeing this expressed in several ways:

Inflation: TRU has witnessed project managers at service providers go from as low as a 75K base to as high as 125K base when changing jobs. This is a 67% increase in base salary compensation. At law firms, project managers are moving from as low as 110K to as high as 165K when changing jobs. This is an increase of 50% of base compensation. While these are examples and not entirely the norm, they are far from exceptions. This demonstrates the competitiveness for high-caliber talent that is only adequately compensated by their current employer.

Cyclical attrition and hiring: As one vendor goes on a hiring blitz, pulling talent from peer competitors in the space, another gets hit with a wave of attrition. Then that company goes on a staffing surge, and the cycle continues. Without enough new talent entering the community for everyone to achieve equilibrium, existing ESI pros are playing musical chairs in the job market…except chairs are being added, not taken away, so there is always a place for someone to sit.

Remote Table Stakes: Law firms are pushing for talent to go back to the office now, slowly but inevitably. This is going to pit them against vendors who could care less where talent is based (the exception being ESI software companies who generally have hiring inertia toward HQ locations). Firms will have to pay more money (and they are already) for similarly skilled talent to attract and retain an in-office workforce and culture post-pandemic.

More Temps Means More Business: Contract staffing continues to be the leading staffing modality solution to roughly half of all clients that TRU services in ESI. With north of 50% of job orders being contract/contract-to-hire, the market clearly has both unprecedented demand and equally sustained uncertainty about perpetual spend on full-time headcount and/or business pipeline past this work surge litigators and those who support them are currently experiencing.

The hiring market usually slows in June, but in 2021, TRU anticipates acceleration in both the volume and speed of hire for ESI pros at almost every level. Now is the time to make a job move in ESI if you are looking to exponentiate your earning potential. Check out our TRU Trends: June edition to see what we can expect from a July job market.

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Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS)
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