7 trends shaping the privacy job market in 2024

By Morgan Sullivan

Senior Content Marketing Manager

June 18, 20243 min read

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Data for this guide was provided by TRU Staffing Partners. You can find a summary of the webinar here or check out TRU Staffing Partner's full 2024 Data Privacy Jobs Report.

The last few years have seen a significant shift in the privacy job market—reflecting broader macroeconomic trends, shifting organizational needs, and an industry-wide focus on data governance, as AI continues to take center stage.

Transcend’s Field Chief Privacy Officer, Ron De Jesus, recently sat down with Jared Coseglia, founder and CEO of TRU Staffing Partners, for an episode of Eye on Privacy, a popular monthly podcast that explores current job market trends and the state of data privacy employment.

Looking at privacy through an operational lens, they explored some of the day-to-day challenges this space has faced historically—chatting through the seven top trends currently influencing the privacy job market, and what privacy leaders can do to stay ahead in the face of rapid industry change.

1. The privacy job market has contracted

In 2022, the privacy profession saw a high of 44,000 job postings—but in 2023, this number declined sharply to 19,000. According to Coseglia, this drop-off coincided with a notable wave of role changes and job moves, often termed The Great Resignation, as well as significant economic uncertainties with the rise of inflation and interest rates.

Despite this contraction, the TRU staffing team projects a potential recovery in 2024, one they believe could be driven by emerging roles in AI governance.

2. CPOs are splitting their time and focus

Chief Privacy Officers (CPOs) have found themselves allocating only 55-75% of their time to core privacy duties. The remainder is divided between recruiting new talent and addressing AI-related challenges, indicating a broader scope beyond traditional privacy roles.

"I also see us broadening our scope within A.I. as well as other compliance areas that are emerging, such as security. We are pulled in various directions, but we are well-suited to address every compliance function."

Ron De Jesus, Field Chief Privacy Officer, Transcend

3. Contract work has become common...

More than 60% of job offers in 2024 are for contract positions, rather than full-time roles. This shift reflects challenges in securing full-time headcount approvals and the need to adapt to fluctuating organizational goals.

4. And contracts often lead to full-time roles...

A noteworthy 42% of contractors within the privacy sector have been extended direct hire offers upon completing their contracts. This statistic highlights a strategic talent acquisition approach, one that’s driven by scarcity in the talent pool for privacy professionals.

With over 15 years of experience in the space, Ron De Jesus said this strategy makes a lot of sense, noting:

"The pool of candidates in the privacy community is smaller compared to other industries so when you find a contractor who demonstrates robust knowledge, you hold on to them any way you can."

5. But, contract to full-time conversion is taking longer

In 2023, the average evaluation period for candidates transitioning from contractors to full-time roles rose to 228 days: a notable increase from the 150-day average in 2022.

This prolonged assessment period underscores employers' meticulous approach to ensuring candidates not only meet a role’s requirements but also align with the organization's culture and long-term objectives.

6. Burnout is on the rise, driving job moves

Burnout has become increasingly prevalent among privacy professionals, prompting many to consider changing jobs. The combination of understaffing and overwhelming workloads plays a significant role in this trend.

On the topic of burnout, Coseglia drew a firm line under this topic, saying:

"Firms are understaffed and overworked. All the trends point to that."

Ron mirrored this sentiment:

"The concept of a one-person privacy show is no longer acceptable to us. I definitely understand why burnout is such a huge factor to those wanting different roles."

As organizations grapple with expanding regulatory demands and data protection challenges, there's a critical need to implement realistic work expectations, foster a supportive work environment, and invest in resources, like efficiency-driving automated tools, that alleviate the pressure of manual workflows.

7. Hiring managers favor less experienced candidates

Hiring managers have been leaning towards candidates with less experience, often citing cost-effectiveness as their rationale. While less experienced candidates may offer financial advantages upfront, organizations should consider the long-term benefits of investing in seasoned professionals who bring robust expertise and a deeper understanding of privacy compliance and risk management.

Key takeaways for privacy leaders

Shifts in the privacy job market from 2022 to 2024 bring both challenges and opportunities for industry leaders. However, there are two key things CPOs can do to effectively navigate these obstacles.

1. Embrace automation and efficiency

The above trends highlight how crucial it is for organizations to adopt industry-leading automation in their privacy operations. By streamlining workflows through automation, companies not only save time but also empower their executives to focus on more strategic initiatives—enhancing operational efficiency and positioning their businesses to stay ahead in a competitive landscape.

2. Prioritize talent and trust

With burnout on the rise and the growing integration of AI in privacy operations, it’s critical that companies prioritize the retention of top talent. This means transitioning privacy teams from legacy ways of working into modern and dynamic organizations.

Not only does this approach mitigate risks and boost operational efficiency, but it also fosters a culture of continuous improvement and enhances business innovation. Ultimately, these changes build stronger customer trust by demonstrating a proactive commitment to privacy and data protection.

By Morgan Sullivan

Senior Content Marketing Manager

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