Survey: Salary, demand for security pros increasing

Demand and pay for IT security professionals continue to rise, while those of professionals in other IT positions, such as database administration and e-commerce, remain the same, according to two surveys released Dec. 4.

The surveys, the Quarterly IT Professional Salary Survey and Third Quarter Hot Technical Skills and Certifications Pay Index, were conducted by Foote Partners LLC, a New Canaan, Conn., IT workforce research firm and management consultancy.

Security employees are looked at as “firemen who fix things,” says David Foote, president of Foote Partners. According to Foote, four out of five companies surveyed don’t have a dedicated security staff, but that’s changing with the increase of security breaches and the after-effects of Sept. 11.

Salaries for security positions have grown 2 per cent to 3 per cent overall so far this year, while salaries for other IT positions in such areas as e-commerce, Lotus Notes and help desk have remained flat due to the current economy, according to the surveys. Foote Partners interviewed 29,400 employees representing 1,840 companies between July 1 and Sept. 30 for the report. Of those, 1,315 were private and public sector security executives, managers, analysts and system administrators, the company said.

Though base pay for security jobs has been relatively flat since January, four out of six security employees earn in excess of US$100,000 in total compensation. Between the third quarter of 2000 and the third quarter of 2001, pay for senior information security analysts increased by 13.5 per cent, and pay for corporate information security directors increased 10.6 per cent.

Pay for manager-level corporate security positions and Web/e-commerce security managers increased 7 per cent. System administrators and data warehouse management-level security jobs grew the least, up 2.4 per cent and 1.7 per cent, respectively.

Bonus pay for all security positions averaged 14.8 per cent of base salary in the third quarter of 2001, compared to 15.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2001. Director- and manager-level corporate security executives, Web security managers and data warehouse security managers all averaged around 16 per cent of base pay in bonuses, followed by senior information security analysts and senior systems administrators at 12 per cent each.

Regional pay hot spots for corporate security, systems administration and data warehousing security management jobs are located in the Midwest and South, whereas pay for these jobs have dramatically decreased in the Northeast and West Coast.

The top IT skills over the next 12 to 24 months include expertise in remote and wireless access, authorization and authentication, business-to-business exchanges, privacy, cryptology and risk management, Foote Partners said.