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Information security salaries maintain their value

ISC Squared : 30 April, 2009  (Technical Article)
The (ISC)2 salary survey has indicated that salaries for information security professionals are continuing to increase despite the economic downturn
Early analysis of broad trends from the Information Security Solutions Salary Survey 2009 suggests security professionals are holding their value in the current economic downturn. The survey of more than 600 respondents, both contractors and permanent employees, revealed that more than half (56 percent) experienced a pay increase in the last 12 months.

The survey, conducted in early April polls the membership of organisations representing professionals in the field, including: (ISC)2, ISACA, British Computer Society, Business Continuity Institute, Council of Registered Ethical Security Testers (CREST), and MIS Training Institute to compile a view from across the United Kingdom. Developed to provide a reference for information security professionals and hiring managers, participants represented a broad cross-section of industry sectors.

Salaries and experience suggest that the profession is dominated by senior roles. The average salary for the 566 permanent employees participating was £53,600, while nearly two thirds, 355 (63 percent) earned more than £50,000. Further 269, nearly half (47.5%) identified bonuses, the great majority of those adding 10,000 to their basic salary; while bonuses indicated were as high as 100,000. A similar trend emerged for benefits with 327 (58% of total permanent) indicating they received benefits, of which 257 (45% of total permanent) said benefits added another 10,000 to their remuneration package, while up to 100,000 in benefits were identified.

"Despite the doom and gloom of the economic situation, security continues to be a highly valued as a profession, and they continue to be paid well," says Iain Sutherland founder, Information Security Solutions. "We are also seeing a significant number of people in senior roles - risk consultants and above - with team management responsibility. The operational and administrative roles that used to be considered specialist to information security appear to be moving into IT."

Nearly three quarters of respondents (73 percent) indicated their role to be senior professional, with seven or more years of experience; manager/team Leader; senior manager or head of function. More than half 52 percent) had responsibility for managing teams.

"These findings tell us that our profession continues to enjoy increasing influence and impact on the organisation as companies recognise their dependencies on IT and connected business processes, a trend that we have seen strengthen since 2004 with our own research, The Global Workforce Study. Our profession as a result is recognised as delivering significant value to organisations in these tough economic times," Says John Colley, CISSP, managing director, (ISC)2 EMEA

Tracking variances across industry sectors, roles and regions of the United Kingdom for salary and remuneration packages, qualifications and experience, other highlights include:

* Day rates for contractors ranged from £100 to £ 1150 (average £548) with no one indicating more than 40 unpaid days off in the last year ( average 24). The majority, 63%, earned between £400 and £650 per day.

* Education and qualifications play a significant role with close to half (42 percent); of respondents indicating they have professional non-vendor qualifications; and 301 (49 percent) having a university degree, 25 percent of them with a Masters or higher.

* There is a notable gap in salaries between the public and private sectors, particularly for local authorities. Consultants earn the highest salaries, closely followed by the financial and telecommunications sector, and professionals in local authorities earn about a third less than these sectors.

* London does not represent the highest remuneration; taking the head of function as an example, the highest earners are in the South East of England, followed by London, Scotland and The Midlands.
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