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Security job market in an ‘inflationary spiral’

Membership body (ISC)2 believes the security workforce will double by 2015

The information security industry is in an unsustainable inflationary spiral due to low unemployment and rising salaries, according to not-for-profit membership body (ISC)2.

Speaking at the RSA security conference in London this week, managing director for EMEA at (ISC)2, John Colley, said that in a normal economic cycle high salaries would attract newcomers to fill the growth in demand and allow the development of a healthy job market. However, newcomers in the security market face too many barriers to entry.

"Employers today are struggling, taking up to six months to fill positions," said Colley.

"They are looking for people who have a basic understanding of security concepts and experience. Newcomers are not being provided with the opportunities to develop either."

Unemployment levels in the information security market are less than four percent, with salaries rising for 70 percent of the workforce.

Although these figures look positive for security professionals, (ISC)2 claims that it is causing problems for the industry.

"Full employment is both good and bad news for the profession. On the one hand, it offers people with the right qualifications, experience and skills, opportunities for career advancement, but on the other, it causes excessively high salary expectations," said Colley.

"Short-staffed teams take on extra workload and stress; there is little time for professional development, and the risk of employees taking on tasks and responsibilities that may not be at par with their abilities rises."

(ISC)2 also predicts that the information security workforce will nearly double by 2015.

The solution to the skills crisis, claims Colley, is to develop a healthy job market for the profession with support for both young people to move into the field and the hiring managers who at the moment have no way of identifying aptitude in undeveloped talent.

Colley said: "We are seeing a lot of talk about the skills gap and many efforts to raise interest in the opportunities. But what are we doing with these people once we get their interest? There isn't at the moment the support mechanism to get them working productively.

"It's a big problem that I am not sure is well understood. Employers will not be able to focus on experience alone for much longer; however, employers will also need support in developing the workforce and the healthy job market required."

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