More than 50% of in-house counsel are confident in their job security during COVID-19, survey finds

Most of the respondents to the Association of Corporate Counsel’s flash poll were not in the market for new jobs

More than 50% of in-house counsel are confident in their job security during COVID-19, survey finds

More than 50% of in-house counsel are confident in their job security in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a flash poll conducted by the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) has found.

A total of 50.9% of the 487 ACC members surveyed from across the globe indicated that they were “not at all” concerned about being let go from their jobs. Less than 30% were slightly concerned and only 6.2% were very concerned about the possibility.

The vast majority of respondents—a whopping 83.1%— reported that they were not actively in the market for a new position. However, 2.1% had already lost their jobs in the pandemic.

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When asked whether compensation levels had been negatively affected by the pandemic, 76.5% of respondents indicated that they had not observed a decline in base pay or benefits. Moreover, 61% of these respondents did not expect their compensation to be cut.

Nonetheless, COVID-19 has impacted legal departments in other ways. Nearly 30% of respondents reported that hiring freezes had been introduced in their departments, while 19.6% indicated that the influx of new hires had slowed.

In addition, more than 10% of respondents revealed that their legal departments had laid off staff, while 9.5% reported furloughs. Almost 40% of the respondents in these departments indicated that their workloads had been somewhat affected by these movements.

To limit hiring freezes, terminations and furloughs, over 60% of respondents reported that remote work setups have been introduced by their legal departments where possible, while 51.9% said that their departments had implemented cost-cutting measures. More than 20% of respondents indicated that executives had taken pay cuts.

For most part, the pandemic does not seem to have negatively affected formal performance reviews, with 70% revealing that the process would go ahead as scheduled. For around 10% of respondents, their legal departments would institute a degree of flexibility when it came to setting goals, but assessments would push through.

Tanya Khan, ACC Australia and APAC vice president and managing director, said that the results of the poll were encouraging for legal departments.

“COVID-19 is causing businesses around the world to adjust their operations, and corporate law departments are no different. This snapshot offers some encouraging news, especially that a majority of respondents are not concerned about losing their jobs or experiencing a reduction in compensation,” she said. “That said, it also highlights the fact that many in-house counsel and law departments are not getting by unscathed, as they continue to face considerable personal and organisational challenges as a result of this pandemic.”

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