Why are CISOs getting the biggest salary increases?

By Sooraj Shah
23 Jan 2014 View Comments
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In a year in which IT investment is expected to grow, the biggest rise in salaries of all IT leader roles in the UK will be for chief information security officers (CISOs).

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That is according to Robert Half Technology's 2014 Salary Guide, which draws on market observations, research it conducts with CIOs and CTOs and data from the industry.

The report claims that in 2013, CISOs earned an average salary of between £72,000 and £130,500, which is to rise in 2014 by 3.5 per cent to £75,000 - £134,500.

According to the guide, CISOs would earn more on average than IT directors, IT managers and heads of IT, but trail chief architects, CTOs and CIOs.

But with no other IT leader position increasing in average salary by the same percentage as CISOs in 2014, and with the rise being one per cent higher than the UK average change for any role of 2.5 per cent, why the big jump for CISOs?

Paul Wright, division head at Robert Half Technology, suggested that the improved economic environment has led to an increase in IT budgets, which is being used to combat growing security threats.

"Security issues are top of the agenda for UK businesses, and as a result all levels of security professionals are seeing higher salary increases than their peers in IT," he said.

According to Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CTO of AVG Technologies, the demand for CISOs is growing because awareness of information security has increased exponentially after the leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

"It makes what a lot of security companies have been talking about for many years a reality for decision makers because a lot of people trusted the government and it turned out that there is no trust with the information that is disclosed," he suggested.

"The problem [before] was trying to convince the CEO that the CIO had to buy a different type of server because a certain threat existed. This was quite challenging because the CEO had to be educated [in technology] and something would have to break the trust he or she had in the systems that existed," he added.

Now, Ben-Itzhak suggests that boardroom executives realise that more security layers need to be added to protect against these threats.

"This is why you'll see more spend on salaries in security and in the technology itself," he said.

[Turn to page 2]

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