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Information Security Professional Salaries Beginning to Recover

Acumin Consulting : 24 March, 2010  (Technical Article)
UK Salary survey for information security personnel at all levels indicate that recent recoveries are likely to continue improving throughout the remainder of 2010
Acumin Consulting has announced the results of its quarterly Information Security Recruitment Index based on registered jobs and actual placements with the information security recruitment specialists over the past three months. The survey shows that while salaries are beginning to recover in some areas, they are yet to reach the same levels of Q1 2009.

A key group experiencing a salary increase is junior-level systems administrators and operations professionals. Junior analysts within security consultancies can now expect to receive between £25,000 and £35,000 - a £2,000 increase on the upper salary bracket from November 2009. Similarly, the salary for junior administrators within end-user organisations has risen to between £23,000 and £37,000.

Chris Batten, managing director, Acumin Consulting, attributes the salary increase for junior-level information security roles to restraining budgets placed on employers. "Organisations with tight budgets can't afford well-paid senior consultants, so they are looking for junior-level candidates that are more financially viable. This in turn enables consultancies to minimise day rates for their customers, and gives end-user organisations the freedom to employ more permanent staff to handle security."

A salary increase for candidates with specialist skills, such as Risk Management and security architects has also been observed. Information security directors in medium sized corporations are now receiving between £75,000 and £92,000; again, a £2,000 increase since Q4 2009. This is also true for service providers who have seen pick-up in Q1 2010: some to the extent of 2008 and 2009 figures. As a result, network security engineers can now expect to receive up to £47,000.

"While there is evident growth in some sectors, others still have a long way to go," continued Batten. "CLAS (CESG Listed Adviser Scheme) consultants that are cleared for high security work in the government sector for example, remain unlikely to earn the rates they could have expected in early 2009. This is likely because the number of CLAS consultants has increased from 500 in 2008 to 700 today, diluting the number of specialists to choose from."

Nevertheless, Batten urges candidates not to overlook the position of CLAS consultant. A considerable (£5,000) rise in salary to between £55,000 and £75,000 annually means that this group has seen the largest increase for Q1 2010.

"As the economy slowly improves, recruitment is seeing a natural revival. However, as with many sectors, it is unlikely that information security salaries will see a significant increase in the near future. Any job vacancies are likely to be swept up by the well of unemployed security professionals created by the UK's financial situation and as such, organisations will not have to offer more money to attract these candidates. I expect this to continue over the coming months with salaries beginning to rise again in Q3 this year," Batten concluded.

Acumin Consulting, a specialist recruitment firm for the Information Risk Management sector, analysed roles within consultancy, end-user and service provider functions in the UK.

Acumin will be exhibiting at InfoSecurity at Earls Court on April 27-29, Stand K37. If you would like to discuss your Information Security career or recruitment challenges, please click here to register for free entry.
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