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Employment for security professionals at all-time high

Hiring spree expected to continue, amid concern over future skills shortage

Information security is where the jobs are, and where opportunities will continue to increase, a survey has found.

An (ISC)2 survey of 2,256 information security professionals has found that 96 percent of information security professionals are currently employed, with the remainder - just 80 people - unemployed. Half of those unemployed had been made redundant, while the others were jobless for other reasons, such as for relocation or further education.

Only seven percent said that they had been unemployed at any point during 2011.

This is despite 27 percent seeing an increase in layoffs in the information security sector, according to (ISC)2's 2012 Career Impact Survey.

Although this is higher than the 20 percent who anticipated redundancies to increase in their organisation in 2010, the global information security professionals' membership body said that the difference this year is that while jobs are being made redundant, workers are going on to find new employment. In 2009, 40 percent had reported redundancies in their organisations.

The number of job opportunities is also forecast to grow, as 62 percent of respondents reported plans to hire additional permanent or contract information security staff this year (compared to 53.3 percent last year).

Security salaries also seem to be experiencing a boom, with nearly 70 percent of respondents saying that they received a salary hike in 2011 (up from 52.8 percent in 2010). More than half (55 percent) expect to receive a pay rise this year.

The average salary for all levels and all roles in the UK last year was $94,545 (£60,000), according to the (ISC)2 Global Workforce Study.

The pay rises and high salaries reflect the high level of skills and experience that employers are looking for in their new recruits, said (ISC)2. But it may also make it difficult for new people - who lack the experience - to enter the industry, Richard Nealon, member of the (ISC)2 board of directors, warned.

"We are seeing full employment and growth going forward. There needs to be enough people coming into the industry to meet that growth," he said.

With companies becoming increasingly aware of the importance of the infrastructure to the survival of the business, the top skills that hiring managers are looking for include operations security (55 percent), security management practices (52 percent) and access control systems (51 percent). Network security (45 percent) and cloud or virtualisation skills (35 percent) were also in demand.


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