Salary growth lags for scarce cyber professionals, ‘robot overlord’ among new job titles - report

Businesses are in dire need of gatekeepers against a flood of cyber-crime. Yet, while the volume and scale of cyber-attacks push the demand for cyber professionals up, salaries for much-needed specialists lag, a recent industry report shows.

The recent ransomware gold rush made it painfully evident that businesses and operators of critical infrastructure are extremely vulnerable to cyber-attacks. While experts doubt there’s any chance the trend will change anytime soon, companies start to understand they need to gear up.

However, people with cybersecurity skills are among the most scarce in the world, according to the ‘Tech Salary & Hot Skills Report 2021’ by the global recruiter Harvey Nash.

It is vital that organizations don’t score an own goal by under-rewarding their cyber teams – and then facing an exodus of talent looking for better remuneration elsewhere,

Ben White.

Where’s the money?

According to a survey of over 6,000 tech industry insiders, countries like the US, UK, Switzerland, Australia, Ireland, and Germany see cybersecurity skills as the most scarce, with 35% of organizations claiming to have difficulty finding the right people.

The authors of the report see the sudden surge in infosec skills as related to the coronavirus pandemic. However, trading offices for bedrooms made holes in cybersecurity too obvious and the lack of knowledge on the issue too glaring.

The report indicated that businesses are most interested in ethical hackers, information security analysts, CISOs, and cybersecurity consultants.

Surprisingly, the salary growth rate for security employees did not rank among the top 10 in tech last year. The report shows that remuneration for the majority (61%) of CISOs and security specialists remained the same while only a third saw their paychecks grow.

According to Ben White, CEO of Harvey Nash Group, organizations instead chose to reward professionals who have led or supported their focus on developing innovative ways to pivot their business and build new systems with a customer/outward focus.

“While one can see the rationale behind this, it is vital that organizations don’t score an own goal by under-rewarding their cyber teams – and then facing an exodus of talent looking for better remuneration elsewhere,” White is quoted in a press release.

For example, over half of the people in team leadership, quality assurance, and UX/UI/Design saw their salaries grow. Data scientists, software engineers, and developers were also among the top titles to see a pay rise.

Image by Alexander Mils,

Robot takeover

Healthcare, finance, and retail are among the sectors that are most likely to search for new hires, expecting stress on healthcare to remain, with retail rebounding after the pandemic.

The report shows that 57% of tech experts think that CISO and security specialist roles will be automated in the next decade, putting a scarce set of skills at risk of being viewed as obsolete by future employees.

However, professions most likely to be taken over by algorithms are testing (80%), quality assurance (80%), and database administration (60%). Creatives, managers, and employees working with people are least likely to have their roles automated within a decade, the report claims.

The increasing presence of AI has already created some sci-fi founding roles in tech. Tech leaders claim that those represent an emerging relationship with data, human-to-human interaction, and wellbeing.

Among the most surprising existing titles, authors of the report indicate ‘Robot Overlord,’ ‘Robot Shepherd,’ ‘Happiness Officer,’ ‘Chatbot Manager,’ and ‘Feelgood Manager.’ Authors of the report claim that a title like ‘Robot Overlord’ likey carries a grain of irony as an ominous sounding position most likely entails oversight of robotic equipment.

“Technology remains a generally well-remunerated and rewarding career. And with tech solutions in such high demand, new employment opportunities will also remain strong. […] It’s encouraging too that the tech industry is moving dynamically to create new roles centered on emerging technology solutions,” White claims.

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