The increasing threat of cyber security breaches and attacks might be a concern for most of us, but it is helping the bank balances of cyber professionals as they become ever more valuable to their employers.
According to a new survey HR firm Robert Walters, average salaries for cyber security professionals in the UK will rise 14% during 2016, with some rising by nearly 40%. This is compared to an average increase of 5% across the UK IT sector.
Developers are also in for some positive news on the salary front, and can look forward to their salaries growing by an average of 9% as employers aim to overhaul their online presence.
However, it is the cyber security professionals who have the most to welcome, as they are set for the biggest salary rise across the IT industry.
Those in Head of Cyber Security and Security Analyst roles are set for an 18% increase in their salaries, while even those in more junior security support roles can look forward to an increase of 7%.
Those holding contract roles in 3rd line infrastructure, dealing with technology such as effective firewalls and digital check point systems, could see their pay packets rise by 38%.
"This trend is being lead by banks and other financial institutions where data security is, by nature, an extremely high priority, with government intelligence services such as GCHQ also looking to secure top professionals into these roles," said Wayne Bennett Manager, IT Recruitment, Robert Walters Manchester,
Steve Corbett, Associate Director, IT recruitment, Robert Walters, said that the rise in salaries across cyber security is being driven by an increasing awareness of the risks on the back of high profile breaches like TalkTalk and Ashley Madison: "The impact of high profile IT security breaches involving attacks on major companies has served to bring this emerging threat into the public eye, increasing pressure from regulators and legislators on companies to have a dedicated cyber security representative and to meet specific standards of security."
Corbett said that on the back of this, those at the top of firms are realising the importance of attracting high level security professionals to help protect them. "Our ability to understand the risks, and know what role the best security talent plays in defending against them, has never been more important," he said. "Senior managers and board members will have to defend cyber security policies in court if a cyber attack results in stolen data, financial losses or damages corporate image."
Areas in the South such as London, Cambridge, and Cheltenham (where government listening agency GCHQ is based,) are traditionally thought to be the high-tech hubs where cyber security professionals operate, it is those working in the North West. 3rd Line Infrastructure professionals in permanent roles are set for a 19% salary increase.
The survey chimes with other recently released data. Global HR and recruitment firm Harvey Nash recently detailed that cyber security professionals are paid slightly £100,000 on average, with 50% of respondents saying they were in the market to hire security architects, and 39% wanting senior information security leaders.