How much is that doggy in the window?

It’s a very peculiar thing, salaries.  Everyone wants to know how much everyone else earns, but no-one wants to say what they earn. At least in the UK.  Some other cultures aren’t quite as reluctant, but full disclosure is often only a recipe for discontent.  The Daily Mail often has articles about salaries (it’s possibly a middle class thing).  Many employers demand that employees don’t share salary information, but open salary information is essential if someone thinks that they are being paid less because of their gender.

What is the effect of salary disclosure?  The (US) National Beauru of Economic Research at Berkeley has published research that higher earners don’t always have more job satisfaction.  But finding out how much your peers are paid can be a double-edged sword:  they are paid more (which is depressing); they are paid more (and this stimulates because it means that there is scope for a pay rise); they are paid less (which may be uncomfortable); they are paid less (which means there is little scope for a pay rise).  The workers at Pimlico Plumber who had their salaries disclosed on a Channel 4 television programme had mixed reactions to plumbers being paid £90k while the sales team were on £19K, however CEO Charlie Mullin states in his blog that it was a worthwhile exercise even if certain lawyers disagree while the comments under The Sun‘s article about the programme are illuminating.

The UK national average full time salary is around £26K, reported in The Guardian. But this excludes the self employed such as IT contractors and television talent.  The Daily Mail reported that Carol Vorderman was paid £1.2m per year, which makes even pen testers look cheap.

So, what about the talented information security professionals?  Fortunately Acumin and Computer Weekly produce an annual salary survey.  The results are edifying.  Empirical data for various IT security roles show a broad range:

  • Big Four:  £40k (consultant); £80k (managing consultant); £150k (director); £500k+ (partner)
  • Major system integrators: £60 – £75k (managing consultant); £130k (associate partner)
  • CLAS consultant: £60k – £80k, contractor: £700 per day (rates here and here)
  • Security Architect contractor: £400 to £800 per day (£150K per year …)
  • CISO: £80 – £120k


The Acumin/Computer Weekly survey shows the top roles are:

  • Project management (£97k)
  • Check Team Lead (£85k)
  • Sales (£170k)
  • Professional services lead (£210k)
  • Security architect (£90k)
  • CISO (£200k); Security director (£120)
  • CTO (£180k)

All of which compare pretty well with getting a job in the real world. (And here are some salaries of civil servants )

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