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Interim Market Report 2011 - Info Security Market Analysis

Information Security

Jun 2009

Dec 2009

Jun 2010

Dec 2010

Jun 2011

New vacancies






Closing vacancies






Candidates registering






Defensive registrations






Overall Salary increase






The information security market is currently experiencing patterns of supply and demand similar to those that existed prior to the recession. Whilst demand recovered strongly in 2010 it was heavily biased towards retail banking. Demand has broadened out across a wide range of end users and consultancies. The seeming increase in high profile electronic attacks has resulted in ‘cyber security’ becoming a subject not to be ignored and is underpinning demand for information security practitioners.

Whereas in information security most recruitment is now for single hires, there are team building exercises underway in business continuity. Whilst the number of vacancies has fallen back, the pool of redundant information security professionals has dissipated. Information security is now operating effectively at full employment and unlike other areas of corporate governance, information security professionals are able to switch sectors. Increasingly the same candidates are in demand from a range of sectors. The information security market is currently enjoying the broadest level of demand in over three years.


At 53, the number of vacancies has fallen below the levels achieved in 2010. Whilst the number of vacancies is down, the pattern of demand is more evenly spread across the economy. One bank having 15 vacancies, whilst potentially flattering the total aggregate number of vacancies, does little for the wider recruitment market. Given the economy is experiencing sub-trend growth it is not surprising that the number of vacancies has fallen. Further, corporate investment, a substantial element of which is IT related, has recently fallen back from the already low levels of 2010. This investment has historically helped underpin recruitment in information security.

The headcount freezes that were still common in 2010 have largely disappeared. However, information security departments are still regularly under pressure to use external recruitment as a last resort and considerable effort can be required to get roles signed off. It is perhaps indicative of a lack of confidence in the economy rather than the information security work that is currently available.

What is not obvious from the statistics is that demand is currently being driven by mid level managerial roles rather than the more senior recruitment that was prevalent six months ago. Senior managers were in greater demand as a result of the significant amount of restructuring that was then taking place.


At 17% defensive registrations have now levelled off at pre-recession levels. It is seemingly a characteristic of the information security recruitment market that defensive registrations are consistently higher than in other areas of corporate governance. This may be indicative of the more capricious nature of the IT industry. Given that the information security market is seemingly operating at full employment, at 208 the number of candidate registrations has remained relatively high. It is clear that a number of information security practitioners having sat out the recession or taken a “make do” position during the recession, are now looking to improve their circumstances.


During the first six months of 2011 the average salary increase achieved by information security practitioners moving jobs moved higher from 11% to 13%. In the period few candidates accepted roles from a position of redundancy. As a consequence the bargaining power of information security practitioners has returned and salary increases are now slightly above their long term average. It is not a bad achievement in an economy where real earnings are falling. However, what is not obvious is that with a higher number of candidates moving between sectors, some are being compensated with higher salaries for the loss of benefits such as cars and pensions and in financial services bonus pools.

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