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Senior Editor, Network World

How IT security pay stacks up around the globe

News Analysis
Mar 13, 20062 mins

U.S. security professionals tend to be paid more than their foreign counterparts, according to the results of two recent studies.

U.S. security professionals tend to be paid more than their foreign counterparts, according to the results of two recent studies from the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC2) and the SANS Institute.

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On behalf of ISC2, IDC polled 4,305 IT security professionals from the Americas, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and elsewhere about their salary range, new skills their employers were requiring, and other concerns. The “2005 Global Information Security Workforce Study,” published by ISC2 last December, found that more than a quarter of information security professionals in the Asia-Pacific region earned less than $30,000 last year.

In contrast, the study found that almost 15% of IT security professionals in the Americas earned more than $125,000 last year. People are paid more here, partly because network security has been defined as a professional position for a longer time, because of technology adoption, says Rolf Moulton, president of ISC2. It’s also a fact that salaries are significantly lower overall in many Asian countries, even when job-holders have advanced degrees, he adds.

The “SANS 2005 Information Security Salary and Career Advancement Survey,” published in January, indicated global salary patterns similar to those in the ISC2 study. The SANS Institute found that the median salary for information security professionals in the United States is $81,558.

In contrast, security professionals’ median salary in Great Britain is $76,389, in Canada, $67,982, and in the rest of the word, $51,250. In India, it’s not uncommon for a security professional to earn between $18,000 and $25,000. The SANS study was based on a poll of more than 4,200 security professionals.

The ranks of IT professionals are also growing across the globe. IDC estimates that last year the number of information security professionals worldwide stood at 1.4 million, a 9% increase over 2004. That figure is expected to increase to 1.9 million by 2009. Today the number of IT security professionals by region stands at 606,268 for the Americas, 509,644 for the Asia-Pacific region, and 379,142 for Europe, the Middle East and the rest of the world. IDC predicts the expansion in security jobs in all three regions will be fairly even, with the Asia-Pacific region growing slightly faster by 2009.