Hear from the Experts: Information Governance Jobs, Salaries On the Upswing

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Increasingly, organizations are moving from traditional information management to an emphasis on information governance (IG). As a result, firms are looking to hire professionals with certain skills as well as knowledge of information governance. But exactly what jobs are opening up? And are there enough qualified people to fill these positions?

The IGI spoke with executives at several recruiting firms that specialize in placing people in information governance positions to ask them some questions and get their perspectives on the state of hiring in the information governance space.

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Ryan Becker, Vice President

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Jared Coseglia, President

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Jason Hynes, Chief Operating Officer/Recruiter – Digital Asset Management

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Is hiring in the IG space on the upswing?

Ryan Becker:  I would say in general, yes, it’s on the upswing. Just looking at our business year over year, we’re probably up 20% with the amount of people we have on assignment compared to last year.

Jason Hynes:  The hiring is definitely on the upswing. It’s on the upswing in two aspects. First, there is more volume, so there are more positions opening up. We’re in a fairly robust economy right now, overall. So the hiring is not at a crazy pace, but it’s very steady growth overall in terms of volume.

Second, the number of positions that open up today with a direct connection to information governance, or an indirect connection to information governance, is up significantly. What’s happening is that what used to be a records and information manager position, is now perhaps a records and information governance position, or an information governance and security awareness position, or an information privacy and data governance position.

You can spin and put the words together in an infinite number of ways, but what is clear is the integration of a governance component is evident and on the rise.

Jared Coseglia:  It’s definitely on the upswing, though I wouldn’t say a dramatic upswing as are some other disciplines we see in great demand. IG is a very proactive discipline. Information governance is not like eDiscovery or cybersecurity where there has been an event, potentially a cataclysmic event that requires immediate expert response. Something happens, something goes bad, and they have to throw people and money and resources at the problem. Thus there’s continued excessive demand for those disciplines.

What kind of IG roles are opening up?

Becker:  The demand we’re seeing is still more at the analyst level. I think the reason is companies are realizing “look we need to do something about this. This is an area we just can’t ignore anymore.” We also get a lot of business from companies that have decided to move forward with information governance programs.

I would say compared to last year, we’ve seen more hybrid IT roles – i.e., information security and privacy and compliance – roles that frankly five years ago were straight IT roles. Now these are hybrid type of roles that really need someone with some IT experience as well.

Hynes:  What we are seeing are mid-senior level roles such as Manager of Strategic Governance; Director of Information Governance and Security Awareness; Manager/Director of Records and Information Governance; Manager/Director of Information Stewardship.

What we are not seeing very many of are C-level roles, e.g., the Chief Information Governance Officer, yet. That specific title is just in its infancy and just getting traction. There are not hundreds of them open right now.

Coseglia:  A lot of the roles we see in IG are leadership roles right now. So when we get IG requests from consultancies or vendors, it’s not for people making between $50,000-$100,000. It’s usually for leadership – people who are thought leaders in this space. People who are going to be experts in the space and who are going to sell this division to their portfolios rather than people who are going to execute on the projects.

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Are there senior IG roles opening up?

Becker:  We’re certainly seeing that on the contract side, the consulting side, that [senior roles] are opening up. I would say the demand outweighs the supply at this point. We’ve got a number of opportunities especially in medium-size companies or companies that are potentially going to be involved with mergers and acquisitions, firms that are private equity owned that potentially may be sold. That is quite an area of demand for us right now. So were seeing senior IT and consulting opportunities but it’s also quite difficult to find these individuals, though.

Hynes:  Although we’re not seeing very many C-level roles opening up at the moment, the C-level role, from our perspective, has a future. People right now are trying to find out how to structure the role, and how to integrate it into the work structure. People are wondering whether or not that kind of rule should report to the general counsel in the legal track or should it report to the CIO, or the CEO, or operations – the COO – or administration – the CAO.

I think the real challenge is that people are saying, “OK, we’ve got a CIO, we’ve got a COO, what do I need another C for?” But from our point of view it has basis, it has merit, it has a future. People right now who are in the mid-director level roles are becoming more common. Those people will promote themselves, or be promoted, and I think it’s a natural progression.

Coseglia: Senior roles are opening up in consultancies and vendors, and mid-level roles in law firms and corporations. What I find with law firms and corporations is that there are usually people in house to lead the charge, so most of the searches we get are for a number two or a number three to begin to build a semblance of a group.

What kind of people are filling these IG roles?

Becker:  Obviously they need to have strong records backgrounds, but they also have to have exposure to the various enterprise content management system technologies. The other piece is having that industry experience – whether it’s pharma, healthcare, financial services, etc. – people who can come in and really advise on that industry. It’s not just knowing the industry anymore and just knowing records management, but really being able to make a recommendation on the technology as well.

So we kind of refer to it as a hybrid role. We get a lot of people who are really strong in the records management piece, but haven’t been exposed to more than one or two of these different technologies. That’s what makes it quite difficult to find these people on a contract basis, anyway.

Hynes: They tend to be more technical than the traditional records management person. If you think back, more of the records management folks were focused more on the physical aspects – the paper and document trail. And now with the electronic digital asset management, or electronic asset management, you need folks that are skewed more toward the technical or software, or the computer system side of things. We view these people as hybrid people who kind of go down the information technology road. They tend to be more IT centric than the traditional, more physical document person might be.

Coseglia:  It’s a pretty diverse group and it’s because there’s not an abundance of opportunities. If I look at all the open jobs we have across the globe right now – we keep a portfolio of over 200 active jobs at any given time – I would say less than 5% of them are information governance jobs.

We are still in a musical chairs place in IG at law firms and corporations. There are a handful of people who have the experience and are essentially getting poached by sister corporations and law firms because they have this very unique, specific skill set.

[IG roles can be filled by] people who are on the frey of that profile, including people who are sometimes part of regulatory compliance work; people who are part of litigation and eDiscovery but with paralegal backgrounds; people with ARMA memberships; people from records management but who learned more technically about big data somewhere along the way.

What are salary expectations for IG professionals?

Becker:  It’s quite a range. I see people who bill themselves out in the $300 range but that’s marked up. I would say as a full-time salary certainly in the range of $150,000-plus.

According to Special Counsel’s 2015 Salary Guide for Legal Professionals, the salary for a Director, Records & Information Management at a small company is $119,595; at a medium-size firm, $120,349; and at a large company, $143,543.

The salary for an Information Governance Analyst at a small company is $59,132; at a medium-size firm, $62,987; and at a large firm, $81,478.

Hynes:  It differs by region, so it’s different in Washington, D.C., than Kansas City. But generally the base salary at a large companies for mid-level to director-level roles is $100,000-$180,000. These are big entities. They have what we refer to as an enterprise footprint, i.e., multiple sites, multiple lines of business. Most often they have a global aspect to them. These are big companies. Smaller companies have barely heard of information governance.

The salaries, I think, are on the rise as the positions become more visible. I think what’s making the positions visible and driving salaries are the security and privacy aspects. Everyone hears about the security breaches with retailers like Target, and Home Depot, or credit card theft, or identity theft. Identity theft is a big fear that is driving consumer awareness. These kinds of things are bringing security and privacy to the front page, where people are top of mind and companies are asking, “What are we doing here?”

Demand is up. But supply hasn’t caught up yet, particularly the technical IT-type supply – the people who have a good understanding of governing information but have a technical bent to them, or a technical skill set who know what needs to be done. They know about the how-tos from a computer perspective. That’s what’s driving the salaries.

Coseglia: It’s really all over the place. I would say leadership in a big 12 consultancy, or in the top 25 consultancies that handle this kind of work, makes somewhere between $150,000-$250,000 base salary, with additional incentives based on revenue and billables.

At law firms and corporations I would say it’s all over the board. Even eDiscovery at corporations is all over the board. There are some eDiscovery directors in major corporations, in $50 billion companies, who make less than $200,000. And there are others at $2 billion companies who make $250,000. It depends on how they value that work.

Most people who are doing execution who are more like information governance project managers are making more like $60,000-$100,000. And geography plays a huge part in that range. If you’re in New York, you’re going to be in the top part of that range, if you’re in Atlanta, you’re going to be in the bottom.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]