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Are dedicated Privacy Officers the next big thing?

Posted by: Laurence Simons 16/06/15

Over the last few months, we have noticed an increase in vacancies for Privacy Officers throughout Europe and in various industries, such as life sciences, IT and consumer goods. An increasing number of companies are acknowledging the importance of having a dedicated Privacy Officer. This is certainly an interesting trend we have been following since the beginning of the year.

This increase in demand can be attributed to a number of factors.  However, one of the main reasons this subject is becoming more visible on the agenda of multinationals is that the European Commission has plans to unify data protection within the EU with a new law, the ‘General Data Protection Regulation’ and companies throughout Europe need to implement this new legislation. For candidates with a strong background in Privacy or Data Protection, this is an interesting development. When we speak with candidates suited to this sector, they inform us that the number of vacancies in their field of expertise has significantly increased over the last few months.

A Privacy Officer usually has a global reach and is often part of the legal team. However, they do not always have to be a qualified lawyer; therefore, it is an interesting new field for us as legal and compliance recruiters. Trying to map this market and find these Privacy specialists, especially the non-lawyers is always challenging, particularly finding new candidates.

Since Privacy has not always been a priority for companies, finding candidates with strong dedicated experience is difficult. It is a relatively new subject, but for lawyers or non-lawyers, with an interest in this field, it is definitely worth specializing in as we expect the demand for dedicated Privacy Officers will continue to grow over the next few years. Like Compliance, we expect Privacy to become a profession on its own, either as a part of the legal function or with its own place in the company structure. We look forward to seeing how this develops.