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Working as a cyber security professional in Germany or France could prove to be much more remunerative than in the UK, a new survey has revealed, adding that cyber security professionals working in Germany earn 17% more than those in the UK.

The new Data services high tech compensation survey by Willis Towers Watson has revealed that the average base salary for a mid-level cyber security worker in Germany is £56,485 while it is £48,020 for a cyber security worker in the UK. At the same time, mid-level cyber security workers in France and the Netherlands earn £51,197 and £48,996 respectively on average.

Ireland was also found to pay cyber security workers well with such workers earning £55,485 on average. These figures well calculated by Willis Towers Watson after comparing remuneration data of over 1,800 cyber security workers from across Europe who participated in the survey.

Even though it is lagging behind the likes of Germany, France, and Ireland, the UK still fares better than Italy and Spain where cyber security workers are paid salaries of £36,960 and £36,082 respectively on average.

“The results show that businesses are recognising the value of cyber security professionals and galvanising an increasingly competitive European job market. While Germany currently leads European pay, the increasing frequency of cyber-attacks and incoming regulations such as GDPR will boost demand for cyber security professionals and drive salaries across the region,” said Tim Rees, UK cyber strategy leader, risk solutions at Willis Towers Watson.

“Cyber-attacks are not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’. In addition to managing cyber risk through technology and risk transfer strategies, [organisations] will have to compete for the best talent to protect them against this growing threat. Chief information security officers are a growing role and bright career prospects are attracting the best digital talent, making cyber security a dynamic, yet well-established industry,” he added.

Better increments for experienced cyber security workers

According to the survey, cyber security workers who have been working in the UK for three to six years enjoy salary increases of 7% to 8%, which suggests that building experience and demonstrating stability can prove to be remunerative in the long run.

This statistic is very similar to projections made by recruitment consultancy Robert Walters who said in a report in February that average salaries of cyber security workers in the UK could rise by 7 percent this year, much higher than those of developers and infrastructure staff.

Salaries for IT professionals are highly inflated, with employers having to compete to secure top talent. In this context, the increases for cybersecurity specialists are particularly noteworthy. In addition to technical skills, employers are keen to secure professionals who can demonstrate communication and project management skills as they look to more closely integrate their IT function into the wider business,’ said Ahsan Iqbal, associate director at Robert Walters.

He added that aside from higher salaries, IT professionals are also looking for other incentives like working with employers who are open to remote working and flexible hours as well as working culture of the organisation they are joining.

Last year, recruitment group Hays noted that 2017 saw the highest-ever pay jump in the history of cyber security when average salaries of cyber security engineers rose by 8.4% and those of cyber security analysts rose by 10.5%. At the same time, non-security IT staff also enjoyed the fruits of the boom, with their average salaries rising by 2.3% over the previous year.