Talent Market Update: Legal & Compliance, Q3 2019

02 October 2019 By Alastair Cleland

1845 Original
Legal & Compliance recruitment insights from Q3 2019 - including where ambitious lawyers focus their career plans, the effect of global regulation and salary growth - as provided by Pentasia’s Kerry Gillitt and Catherine Clark.

By nature, the legal and compliance talent market tends to be slower than most. Legal teams often benefit from low staff turnover and growth tends to be steady. Department sizes vary from 1-4 for a mid-sized operator up to 20-30 for international businesses.

There are two key arenas where competition for talent becomes more acute. The first is for mid-level, gaming specialist lawyers – in low supply and rarely on the market. The second is for ‘first-in-the-door’ generalists who can help establish new legal functions within growing startups.

The most ambitious lawyers work hard to put themselves in a position with broad horizons, workload variety and commercial influence. Startups often appeal for this reason, but larger employers have also found success by offering roles that involved increased advisory responsibility, direct access to the CEO and even equity in the business.

Salaries are up around 10% year-on-year, rising to rates that many employers – particularly smaller, younger companies – find unpalatable. The value is justified, though, by short market supply and infrequent turnover. Counter offers can be aggressive too; in one recent example, a gaming lawyer received a payrise from $25,000 to $45,000 to extend their employment.

In compliance, the highly changeable European and global regulatory environment is making for challenging conditions. Taking the UKGC as an example, compliance professionals feel a disconnect between the great improvements they’ve been delivering and the increasing critical scrutiny the industry is experiencing.

Fraud and AML specialists, particularly MLRO’s, are in growing demand. Requiring specialist knowledge and often involving out-of-hours shift work, these roles can be hard to fill. Employers are working hard to ensure talent pipelines, but increasingly have to compete with employers from outside of industry too.

Our Q3 Legal & Compliance iGaming talent trends in brief:

  • Overall pace of the talent market is relatively slow, adding pressure on employers to move quickly to secure important hires.

  • The value of iGaming experience remains high, especially for those with qualified legal status and familiarity with any of the world’s major gaming territories.

  • Talent supply is predictably extremely short in newly-regulating territories or those in growth, including the USA, Sweden, the Netherlands, Portugal and elsewhere.

  • Malta’s employers have a continual requirement for entry- and mid-level fraud, AML and compliance executives. Additional benefits offered to sweeten these job offers include travel allowances, on-site chefs, annual wellness funds and team outings.

  • Fintech employers are increasingly competing with iGaming for compliance talent, and often benefit from being able to offer 9-5 hours (versus’ iGaming’s requirement for shift work).

Kerry Gillitt and Catherine Clark speclialise in Legal & Compliance roles within iGaming |kerry.gillitt@pentasia.comcatherine.clark@pentasia.com