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Seven Key Takeaways from the New IAPP & TRU Privacy Professionals Salary Survey

TRU Staffing Partners September 14, 2023 at 8:00 AM

A recent webinar showcasing the new 2023 IAPP Privacy Professionals Salary Survey gave the data privacy community an exciting glimpse into the unprecedented analysis of global compensation and job market trends for the industry. TRU Staffing Partners’ Founder & CEO Jared Coseglia, alongside IAPP Principal Researcher in Privacy Management Saz Kanthasamy, CIPP/E, CIPM, FIP, and IAPP Research & Insights Director Joe Jones, covered the most critical takeaways and results from the survey as well as several companion TRU jobs reports, and discussed what both organizations see happening in the privacy job market today.

Takeaway 1: Data privacy financial compensation is at an all-time high

The overall average base salary for internal privacy professionals was $146,200. When adjusted for sample distribution and currency exchanges, this represents a 7% increase from 2021 and a 10% increase from 2019 for internal privacy pros. Depending on how the economy continues to fluctuate, increases will likely not remain at this level. Coming next: Raises higher than 7-10% over the next two years are highly unlikely due to macroeconomic conditions.

Takeaway 2: The privacy profession leads the way in closing the gender pay gap – but there's still work to be done

Women in privacy earn almost 1% more than men on the combined average of base salary and annual hourly pay, rising to 2.3% when accounting for additional compensation. In this year’s survey, 48% of respondents identified as female, 48% as male, 0.3% as nonbinary and 4% preferred not to share gender data. Yet, women have fewer jobs in privacy engineering and cybersecurity, and in those areas, earn less than their male counterparts.

Takeaway 3: North America leads the world in privacy pay rates

U.S. privacy pros make 55% more on average in their base salaries compared to their European counterparts. The greatest variation in base salary was seen among privacy engineers, with those in North America earning 103% more than their European counterparts. The second largest difference was seen among privacy analysts, with North Americans earning 91% more than their European counterparts. Coming next: Consolidation and commoditization (through artificial intelligence and other software) could change those numbers.

Takeaway 4: Most privacy pro respondents continue to work remotely

More than two-thirds of privacy professionals surveyed said they still worked from home more than they do in an office, and 40% were fully remote. 5% of respondents are fully office based, making this comparable with those who predicted working this way in 2021. By contrast, in the 2021 survey, more than 80% of respondents worked entirely from home and 11% “mostly” worked from home. Coming next: Employers see that workers prefer the remote work option and may extend that flexibility even farther to attract key talent, especially if giving them more cash isn’t feasible.

Takeaway 5: Certifications help privacy professionals earn more and help prevent unemployment

Respondents with any one IAPP certification earned over 13% more than those with no IAPP qualifications. For privacy certifications, privacy pros have many choices and needs for certifications and are making the effort to get certified. 77% of the survey respondents held at least one IAPP qualification. 37% held multiple IAPP qualifications. 30% of global CPOs held the Fellow of Informational Privacy certification. Coming next: As regulations tighten and employer expectations rise, certifications will become required, not desired.

Takeaway 6: Organizational size is relative to compensation in data privacy

Privacy pros working for organizations with under $100 million of annual revenue reported average base salaries 35% lower than privacy pros working at organizations with more than $40 billion in annual revenue. A similar theme was observed when considering the number of employees. 

Takeaway 7: Fight or Flight – Privacy professionals must decide how to maximize future compensation

More than 76% of survey respondents received a raise in the previous 12 months. Privacy champions, followed by privacy risk officers and compliance managers, were most likely to receive raises. Between 2021 and 2023, privacy pros received double the raises as in the previous two years. Extensive privacy skills and experience offer dramatic increases in compensation. Coming next: The rate of raises can’t be sustained long-term and will become less meaningful. However, switching jobs offers pros higher base comp at a faster rate.

Each of the takeaways are discussed at length in the survey. For a deep dive into the 2023 IAPP Privacy Professional Salary Survey, download a copy today!

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