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Salaries for cyber security specialists are set to rise in 2018, according to a salary survey by recruitment firm Robert Walters.
The research found roles related to cyber security in the UK will see an average pay rise of 7% this year, one of the highest salary increases for IT-based roles.
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Ahsan Iqbal, associate director at Robert Walters, said IT professionals have been increasingly demanding higher wages when moving jobs.
“At this point, salaries for IT professionals are highly inflated, with employers having to compete to secure top talent. In this context, the increases for cyber security specialists are particularly noteworthy,” he added.
The increasing investment in cyber security professionals across all industries has often been attributed to the growing number of high-profile cyber attacks over the past year, which have brought attention to the importance of being prepared for these occurrences.
In London, a professional in a head of information security role with 10 or more years of experience can expect an annual salary of between £105,000 and £170,000 a year – an increase on a London-based head of information security salary of between £95,000 and £155,000 in 2017.
Though the annual salaries for these roles in other parts of the UK, such as the Midlands and the North of England, are lower on average, there has still been a significant increase in the total yearly remuneration for cyber-based roles from 2017 to 2018.
Data scientists have also been growing in demand, and the average London salary for a head of data science role is between £100,000 and £180,000 a year in 2018. This is an increase from 2017 where the same role in London would fetch between £75,000 and £150,000 annually.
Across the UK, salaries for development and infrastructure specialists will see an average of 3% increase in annual salary.
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A high level of technical skill is demanded for IT professionals, and firms are still looking for candidates with skills and experience in business intelligence, cyber security, Java, Linux, customer relationship management (CRM), architecture, cloud security and pen testing.
Firms are increasingly looking for candidates who not only have the technical skills needed to fill a role, but also have soft skills, which are not often taught outside of the workplace.
“In addition to technical skills, employers are keen to secure professionals who can demonstrate communication and project management skills as they look to more closely integrate their IT function into the wider business,” said Iqbal.
The technology skills gap in the UK makes it difficult to find the talent needed to fill these empty roles as there are more job vacancies than there are skilled workers to fill them.
It has been argued that skills gaps in specialist areas such as cyber security could be addressed by training those who are not already in work, and through larger firms educating smaller businesses on how to avoid and prevent cyber attacks.
In many cases, this has led to firms using part-time contractors for shorter-term projects such as transformational initiatives, usually at some cost.