Security sector salary survey 2022 – 2023: A world where security professionals are in high demand
The annual security sector salary survey for 2022 – 2023 highlights opportunities for those in the sector as the UK outpaced other developed economies, with a return to pre-pandemic employment levels and near record levels of vacancies advertised against the background of the “Great Resignation”.
Wage inflation and its effect
With the near trebling of inflation in the past 12 months, pay demands are building. In highly unionised private sector workplaces, such as BT, there are pay demands of 10% and a strike ballots planned.
There is a 40% increase in the number of companies going into bankruptcy, reported by the Insolvency Service. Begbies Traynor’s Red Flag Alert paints a particularly worrying picture for UK businesses, with increasing numbers falling victim to pressures which have been building while government intervention has masked problems in the economy for two years. 500,000 business are in financial stress and in danger of defaulting on repaying Covid loans.
Companies most affected are in the support services sector. In the SSR survey, 24% respondents reported no increase in their basic salaries, compared with 38% in 2021. Those rewarded with bonuses and share schemes reported an increase in value averaging around 5.5%. Those changing roles, or who have been revalued through personal performance, averaged over 10%.
Risks and Skills demands
Respondents rated the risks to their organisation in this order:
- Cyber Security
- Organisational Governance
- Data Privacy
- Talent Management
This mostly mirrors CEO surveys, except those have talent attraction or retention typically at around third on their list of risks. 74% of respondents reported that they had self-funded post-graduate education. This is driven in part by the mistaken assertion that that there is parity of need between the hirer and those for hire. When organisations are reporting a shortage of skills, they need to contribute to their existing employees’ development.
A fundamental change has occurred in recent times. Work-cycle longevity is now at its longest ever and, therefore, has the greatest number of generations at work at the same time. The pandemic has removed over one million self-employed and part-time workers from the UK workforce. The Pertemps monthly CBI Labour market reports recently reported there were 1.3m vacancies advertised monthly, many of them are in the support and creative industries.
After five years of technology growth spurred by two years of pandemic, some businesses are relying on recruitment practices that are outdated: go to market, offer more money, and recruit. Worryingly, employee attrition has increased for companies. Immigration visa requirements bring newsworthy reporting of the lack of labour in low-paying trades, but the skills deficiency is at its most critical in areas such as security engineers, which suffer from an ageing work force, advancing technology, and lack of appeal for joining the work force.
Meanwhile, UCAS reports an unprecedented growth in students opting to take on STEM subjects. This includes a 400% increase in acceptances for students wishing to go on to study artificial intelligence courses at university.
The UK is fast attracting jobs in crypto currency firms due to the UK successful tech sector, but the UK has over 150,000 vacancies.
Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
Unfortunately for UK security PLC, we are not attracting women into the profession in high enough numbers. Women make up 21% of the work force employed in the digital economy and representation is lower in the cyber and physical worlds.
As firms accept a hybrid new world, candidates report they are spurred to look for a new role because they are not allowed to work from home. This disproportionately affects women who typically are the primary carers for children and elderly dependents.
Women in the UK feel more stressed today than they did a year ago, and nearly half say it is the reason they will likely leave their job in the next two years, according to the latest Deloitte ‘Women@Work’ report. Nearly half of women polled felt burned out, and described their mental health as either ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’.
But of course, representation is not just about the number of women, it’s a much wider issue than that. Diversity encompasses all aspects of the human experience, from age and culture to skills and life experience.
Attraction and retention
SSR survey respondents are reporting an increasing lack of empathy culture in their senior management as the reason for leaving
Under half of all organisations cite pay and bonuses as the key for staff attraction and retention, whereas over 50% of applicants say that culture and benefits are a significant reason for joining a company.
An investment from as little as £25 per employer can provide a host of benefits, including access to wellness consultants, private health, gym membership, family discount vouchers, and will reduce staff churn. The return is worth the investment.
SSR® Personnel & Executive Profiles
For detailed results from the survey, please see our online edition.