Cybersecurity experts to enjoy highest salary increase in 2018

Recruitment firm predicts higher wages for developers and infrastructure specialists are also on the horizon

Abstract cyber security image of a man holding a symbol of a padlock inside a shield

Cybersecurity experts will see the highest salary increases among IT professionals this year, a report by recruitment consultancy Robert Walters has found.

Infosec specialists will see a 7% pay rise this year compared to 2017, the 2018 Salary Survey revealed, which is apparently due to the growing number of high-profile data leaks and related cyberattacks of the last year.

Developers and infrastructure staff will also see salary rises, but of less than half that of cybersecurity experts, at 3%.

Ahsan Iqbal, associate director at Robert Walters, argued that this salary surge will make it harder for employers to secure skilled IT staff, and that they should consider other ways in which to attract and retain the best talent.

"Salaries for IT professionals are highly inflated, with employers having to compete to secure top talent," Iqbal said. "In this context, the increases for cybersecurity specialists are particularly noteworthy. 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.

"For many IT professionals, while a high salary is important, there are other incentives which can attract them to a role. In particular, flexibility is regarded as highly important, with many IT specialists looking to work for employers who are open to remote working and flexible hours. The nature of the projects they will be working on is also considered important to many IT professionals, as is the working culture of the organisation they are joining."

However, Tim Helming, director of product management at DomainTools, said the survey is "a welcome recognition" of the importance of cybersecurity specialists to corporations and individuals in 2018.

"As data breaches, high profile ransomware attacks and other forms of cybercrime become more common, sophisticated and easy to pursue, the need for cybersecurity professionals to be incentivised to stay in the industry is crucial," he said.

"What's more, a visible industry-wide average salary increase could help to draw more talented people into the cybersecurity industry, as well as engaging with the flexible working practices outlined in the survey."

He added that the dangers of cybercrime are only likely to increase in the coming years, as nation states begin to engage in cyber warfare as a viable alternative to traditional military action, so ensuring this talent pool is satisfied is "crucial for all of us".

It was only last week that it was revealed the UK is now the most targeted region in the world for cyber threats following a 134% rise in hijacking attempts against British machines and soaring ransomware attacks.

Malwarebytes' annual State of Malware report revealed UK-bound ransomware has increased by 165% over the last year, having accelerated at a pace almost double that of the US.

These attacks peaked in May during the height of the WannaCry ransomware campaign, which also helped contribute to a 700% global rise in ransomware threats between July and September 2017, according to Malwarebytes' telemetry, a 10-time increase on the monthly rate of ransomware attacks in 2016.

Ransomware across the globe saw a 90% hike against businesses and a 93% increase against consumers over the course of 2017.

Picture: Bigstock

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