Demand for in-house roles may continue for some time

Demand for in-house roles may continue for some time

11 January 2022 By Jerome Doraisamy

One in-house recruiter says that, as the new working year gets underway, we may be staring down the barrel of a “fairly extensive period of demand” for corporate counsel roles.

Much has been made of the supposed looming “Great Resignation” – those in-house certainly seem to think it will impact them, and it is shaping up as a primary challenge for law department leaders in 2022.

G2 Legal Australian director Daniel Stirling (pictured) is seeing a combination of factors leading to increased demand for in-house roles. Whether one calls it a Great Resignation or not, he says, it is clear that, for many, “now might be the right time to move on”.

Speaking recently on The Corporate Counsel Show about why in-house recruitment is so busy at this point in time, Mr Stirling said that there is “pent-up demand” from those who perhaps have not had the opportunity to seek a new role in the last year or two, as well as those who have had time to reflect on what’s important given their experiences with lockdowns and subsequent remote/flexible working, together with organisations “getting more confidence” to expand and hire for roles they didn’t have before.

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Given these factors, “now might be the right time for people to make the change”, he surmised.

“We’re seeing the start of [rising demand], but I think that’ll only increase in the new year, depending on how organisations and law departments react to that.”

When asked if he thinks that increased demand for in-house roles will continue or if it is simply a flash-in-the-pan, as part of natural peaks and troughs, Mr Stirling opined that we are looking at a “fairly extensive period of demand”, following groundwork laid by the events of 2021.

When extended lockdowns happened across Australia, he explained, recruiters expected movement to quieten down, but that “certainly wasn’t the case”, he said.

“If anything, it continued to pick up pace, and even more opportunities were coming up. So, it’s hard to predict because of what’s been going on in the world. But I think that it certainly seems that demand is there, and the challenge for law departments will be finding and retaining the top talent to make sure that they can operate as best they can and keep their best people challenged and keep them on board.”

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Part of this, Mr Stirling went on, involves more substantive consideration of an organisation’s social impact and sustainable developments, noting that five years ago, no candidates were asking about ESG.

In light of this, he posited, law department leaders have “quite a discerning customer base” when it comes to hiring the best people.

Mr Stirling’s comments follow those of Carlyle Kingswood Global director, in-house (legal and governance) Phillip Hunter, who spoke last year on The Corporate Counsel Show about what he perceives to be the “Great Scramble for Talent”, and how law departments are going to have to do all they can to keep in-house counsel happy.

The transcript of this podcast episode was slightly edited for publishing purposes. To listen to the full conversation with Daniel Stirling, click below:

Demand for in-house roles may continue for some time
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