The role of data privacy professionals has increased by an average of 30 percent year-over-year for the past two years, and the pandemic has further accelerated the trend. To learn more about these dynamics, Cleveland State University College of Law’s Master of Legal Studies in Cybersecurity and Data Privacy program creator Professor Brian Ray spoke with Jared Coseglia, Founder and CEO of TRU Staffing Partners, one of the largest and most prominent job placement and recruiting firms in the legal technology, data privacy, and cybersecurity industries in a recorded webinar.
Late 2020 Saw a Hiring Surge for Data Privacy Professionals
Coseglia opened the conversation by reviewing the pandemic’s effect on hiring in 2020. Demand for cybersecurity and data privacy professionals fell steeply in the second and third quarters. “People stopping hiring,” said Coseglia. “It was just a ceasefire for a while. Firms had to calibrate what they were going to do and how they were going to adjust to the pandemic.”
The fourth quarter of 2020, though, saw a surge in demand for data privacy expertise. The trajectory of data privacy issues, explained Coseglia, changed substantially for many companies at the onset of the pandemic. “As a very simple example,” he said, “say you’re a company that never previously dealt with HIPAA.” “Now, with the pandemic, you’re taking the temperature of employees when they come into the office. You’re having to become compliant with HIPAA because that temperature is medical information, and that medical information is protected in a different way than your street address.”
As a result, Coseglia continued, companies had to rapidly make decisions about privacy and how they deal with data. That’s a simple example, “but if you’re a poultry processing facility, the scale of the situation becomes very complex.” “It’s a big reason that companies suddenly had to care about HIPAA and data privacy and whether they have people on staff to handle those issues.”
In the webinar Coseglia detailed the rise in contract staffing to fill current needs and the “job-creating” effect of different state requirements regarding data privacy.
Data privacy is an environment with many legal obligations, and those obligations are incredibly fractured, he explained. Technology automation exists, but it doesn’t help companies institutionalize policies and procedures within their organizations. “Technology automation doesn’t help when the laws change frequently. Companies need someone watching over and managing these issues.”
Increased Global Reach Grows the Demand for Data Privacy Experts
During the pandemic, many companies increased the scope of their operations. “If all of the sudden,” said Coseglia, “you go from being a company that just does business in the U.S. to a company that’s doing business in Europe or Latin America, you’re now opening yourself up to multiple regulatory and compliance obligations.”
What’s more, compliance-related issues surrounding privacy are accelerating. Without a uniform federal privacy law governing all sectors in the U.S., corporations often must set their own privacy standards. “As corporations begin to define what is ethical and how they will use data,” Coseglia said, “privacy becomes not only a way that companies stay compliant but also a way for companies to define consumer trust and therefore retain and acquire more customers.” “These issues make data privacy complicated and sticky but a great business to be in.”
Current Hiring Trends for Privacy Professionals
The conversation between Coseglia and Ray reviewed multiple hiring trends emerging in 2021:
- Coseglia’s firm saw an unexpected increase in demand for chief privacy officer positions. In larger companies the opening is due to attribution, said Coseglia. Additionally, many startups need these people to fill these roles.
- Most of the entry-level positions are contract positions.
- Healthcare tech—which is similar to but different from healthcare—is the industry vertical with the highest concentration of privacy job openings. Healthcare tech companies distribute or aggregate healthcare data, which is the most private of data.
An example of the healthcare tech field, said Coseglia, is a company like oncology research aggregator Flatiron. Flatiron gathers oncology or clinical trial data, repurposes it, and sells it back to doctors. As opposed to a healthcare provider like a hospital, healthcare technology companies like Flatiron have a technology that aggregates information–in this case based on the pursuit of curing and treating cancer. These companies make products from information. They need data privacy professionals to guide the business in conversations about the compliance of products they develop.
- Successful candidates in the job market are the ones who have received advanced certification or training, such as CSU College of Law’s MLS program.
- Of the positions Coseglia’s firm has placed in 2021, 75% are remote. This means, Coseglia said, that companies will see more qualified candidates for jobs and positions fill more quickly. For candidates, this means more jobs are available to job seekers. “You no longer need to be tied to finding a job in Cleveland, Ohio,” he said. “You can look into jobs all over the country. If you’re a candidate and you’re not expanding your outreach to the national level and looking for remote positions, you’re limiting what’s available to you.”
CSU College of Law’s Master of Legal Studies Program
CSU College of Law’s innovative online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) in Cybersecurity and Data Privacy takes an integrative approach to education, preparing professionals to understand the technical and business dimensions of cybersecurity and privacy as well as current laws and regulations.
The part-time and fully online program is led by faculty from the Center for Cybersecurity and Privacy Protection at Cleveland State University College of Law and other leading practitioners in the field, with a focus on relevant, real-world experience. The MLS degree is designed for professionals who need to understand the significant legal and business risks posed by cybersecurity and data privacy. The program prepares graduates with the knowledge and necessary skills to enter these fast-growing fields and to advance to senior positions within organizations. The webinar includes a detailed description of the program curriculum. Jared Coseglia’s TRU Staffing Partners firm is a national contract staffing and executive placement search firm presenting talent in cybersecurity, electronic discovery, and privacy. TRU has placed over 3,000 professionals in these fields since 2010.