Cyber-pros get big salary rises

But skills shortage means companies have to hire more and more 'green' information security staff.

Cyber-pros get big salary rises
Cyber-pros get big salary rises

UK cyber-security professionals are getting well above-average salary rises, but companies are being forced to hire security staff with less experience, according to a new survey.

Te data, from recruitment firm Morgan McKinley's latest 2014 Salary Survey, shows that salaries for information-security specialists at every level of experience are rising significantly faster than average UK pay.

According to the company, salaries for professionals getting new jobs in London – not just cyber-security pros – are currently rising at around 19 percent, while average UK salaries are growing at just one percent.

Morgan McKinley IT associate director Cem Baris told SCMagazineUK.com: “There is definitely an increase in salaries and demand for cyber-security professionals.”

Baris explained: "We have seen an increase in demand for highly skilled IT professionals in almost every sub-sector. Cyber-security - with dominant program requirements being Hadoop, Python and R - big data, business intelligence and application development are all in high demand.”

He said the main reason why cyber-security professionals' salaries are rising above the average is the skills shortage: “At the supply end, there are not enough technologists with high-level skills to meet the growing demand. Added to which, recent new legislation that restricts the ability of UK companies to hire from outside the EU is adding to a squeeze on resourcing, leading to salary inflation.”

The downside, Baris said, is this has forced companies to drop their demands for experienced cyber-pros: “While two years ago, hirers were demanding skills as well as corporate experience, now we see a focus on skills irrespective of age and track record," he said.

The survey shows that the typical London salary for a senior-level data scientist is now £50,000-£62,000 a year, while a mid-level person can command £35,000-£45,000 and a junior data scientist £28,000-£32,000.

Experienced IT security analysts in London can expect to earn £38,500-£45,000, while their mid-level peers are on £33,000-£38.500 and juniors on £28,000-£33,000.

Outside Greater London, experienced IT security analysts are being paid £34,000-£38,000, mid-level people £30,000-£34,000 and juniors £24,000-£30,000.

Meanwhile, day rates for cyber-security analysts both in and outside London range from £225 for the lowest-paid juniors to £450 for the best-paid seniors.

Within these bands there is also a divide between the public and private sectors. Daniel Cuthbert, chief operating officer at SensePost told SC that government authorities, including the security services, were seen by many as not paying the rate for the skills they need, commenting, “They are offering say £23K for a good security analyst who might get up to £100k in the private sector in London.  I have friends who would like to work in the security services, but they pay London mortgages and can't afford to take the pay cut.”

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