Australia poll sees cautious optimism on job security pandemic

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The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Australia published its fifth member flash poll related to the covid-19 pandemic, with results showing in-house counsel in the country are feeling cautiously optimistic that they will not lose their jobs.

The focus of the poll was job security and talent management during the pandemic, with 487 ACC members taking part.

The survey showed that half of the respondents (50.9%) were “not at all” concerned about losing their job, while a further 26.1% reported being “a little” concerned. Fewer than one in five (16.9%) are actively looking for new employment. However, 76.5% of respondents shared that, to date, their total salary had not gone down due to covid-19.

“Covid-19 is causing businesses around the world to adjust their operations, and corporate law departments are no different,” said Tanya Khan, vice president and managing director, ACC Australia and Asia-Pacific.

“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. 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 organizational challenges as a result of this pandemic.”

In terms of hiring, a third of respondents (33.5%) expect no changes, although almost as many (27.9%) have issued a hiring freeze, and 11.2% reported terminations or layoffs in their legal teams. An additional 9.5% reported implementing furloughs.

Legal teams are attempting to prevent layoffs through a combination of work from home, which saves money (62.7%); general cost-cutting (51.9%); and various austerity measures, including reduced bonuses and executive pay, reduced hours, and voluntary leaves of absence.

The poll, which ran between 4 August and 10 August, was the fifth and final instalment in a series of designed to elicit feedback from in-house counsel on a variety of topics related to the impact of covid-19.