Professional Monitor: in association with (ISC)2


Recruitment is a mixed field at the moment, with a strong financial sector and consultants - in some areas - on the up. We review 2010 and take a look at this year's prospects...

Recruitment is a mixed field at the moment, with a strong financial sector and consultants - in some areas - on the up. We review 2010 and take a look at this year's prospects...

Last year was a strong one for jobs in information security, with the financial services market picking up – followed closely by the big consultancies and outsourcing contractors. By contrast – and predictably – government positions have slowed for both the contract and permanent markets, with public spending cuts causing hesitation from public sector employers. The market today is a complete reversal of 2009, when financial companies were fraught with restructuring and redundancies, other sectors put a freeze on new projects and the public sector stepped in to pick up the slack.

Today, the financial companies, particularly retail banks, appear to be post-recession. They have gone through large rounds of redundancies, structured the new organisations they want and are now hiring. Other sectors, such as oil and gas, manufacturing, retail etc, were static for Q1 and Q2 of 2010. They have not gone through the same volume of redundancies and appear to still be in recession, which matches the story being told by FTSE 100 profit figures.

As a result, there are fewer vacancies here. We are looking at a longer, more drawn-out recovery for jobs in the private sector outside of the financial services, but there were improvements late in 2010.

Conflicting pressures are likely to keep salaries in check. They had recovered last year, approaching pre-recession levels. However, talk of public-sector roles picking up in this New Year may be ambitious, while more competition can be expected for financial-sector roles. The recession has had the effect of shortening contract terms, with renewal options of three months becoming the norm.

Roles have evolved with the restructured organisations. Opportunities are split between broad risk assessment and security assurance roles and niche technical areas, including data leakage prevention (DLP), identity management and SIEM, both for end-user organisations and in pre-sales roles. There are also a number of compliance roles driven by the desire to get in line with PCI DSS, eclipsing ISO 27001 as a driver. For many employers, PCI has driven the need to install their first information security specialist. Whatever the role, the people most in demand have business knowledge with an understanding of where technologies fit or issues impact on an organisation.

Mark Ampleford, IS Recruitment, Barclay Simpson

Focus on Consultancies

In 2010, consultancies and SIs were buoyed by government demand, particularly for CLAS consultants. In the last quarter, this slowed, as employers waited to see how the spending review would affect them. Cuts to public sector outsourcing contracts are motivating a shift to professional services and commercial customers.

Some have put recruitment on hold, although I expect lots of opportunity to develop in 2011.

Services expected to be in demand for 2011 include penetration testing, SIEM, identity management and DLP – with the financial sector leading the way.

Roles in these areas are for subject matter skills rather than industry-specific expertise, which allows transition from the public sector. Candidates will face fiercer competition from the displaced public sector workforce, which may cause some salaries to stagnate.

Ruth Jacobs, IS Recruitment, Barclay Simpson


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