eLearnSecurity Blog

IT Security Salaries in Major European Cities

It seems that everyday, hackers are finding more and more things to break into and use against us. Even the most mundane things such as toasters can now be used in botnets designed to conduct cyber-attacks. Today, there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of devices under the control of hackers – and absolutely not enough of the good guys to push back.

It now sounds like a bad cliché, but there is still a dearth in cybersecurity talent all over the world. Years have passed since this shortage was acknowledged, but it seems that we are still not much closer to solving it. With future breaches expected to cost businesses an estimated $2.1 trillion (yes, with a T-R), it’s understandable that some companies have upped the ante on their employee recruitment and retention efforts and brought cybersecurity salaries soaring high.

In July, Indeed published a blog post detailing where American cybersecurity professionals are compensated the most. They covered the major cities in the US and found in their report that, adjusting for expenses, the city with the highest-paying IT security jobs is Minneapolis, Minnesota.

cybersec_salary_us

“What about European cities?”

When we posted about Indeed’s report, we received comments from the eLearnSecurity community to include major cities in Europe, as well. And while we do not have access to as much data on jobs and salaries as Indeed, we managed to compile a list of European cities and the respective compensation an IT security professional might expect working in one of these hubs. The data used was gathered from sites such as Salary Explorer and PayScale.

For simplification, we decided to focus on the “security specialist, information technology” job title. An IT security specialist’s role includes safeguarding information system assets, analyzing where security breaches might occur, and the repair or strengthening of systems against such breaches.

The infographic below lists twelve cities, and the corresponding average salary in the local currency. The cities include:

  • Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Bucharest, Romania
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Milan, Italy
  • Moscow, Russia
  • Munich, Germany
  • Paris, France
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Wroclaw, Poland
  • Zurich, Switzerland

cybersec_salary_eu

City Average salary (local currency) Average salary (in Euros)
1. Zurich, Switzerland 100,000 CHF 92,642
2. Munich, Germany 69,000 EUR 69,000
3. London, United Kingdom 56,333 GBP 62,605
4. Brussels, Belgium 55,800 EUR 55,800
5. Paris, France 46,000 EUR 46,000
6. Prague, Czech Republic 1,200,000 CZK 44,414
7. Milan, Italy 38,000 EUR 38,000
8. Amsterdam, The Netherlands 25,800 EUR 25,800
9. Barcelona, Spain 21,180 EUR 21,180
10. Wroclaw, Poland 58,800 PLN 13,600
11. Moscow, Russia 960,000 RUB 13,578
12. Bucharest, Romania 44,400 RON 9,866

Zurich tops the list of European cities, with an average annual wage of 100,000 Swiss francs or 92,600 Euros – 23,000 more than second-placer Munich, where IT security professionals receive roughly 69,000 Euros annually. A close third is London, at 62,605 Euros.

On the other end of the spectrum, Moscow comes at a surprising 11th place, with workers receiving only 13,578 Euros per year. The least-paying city on the list is Bucharest – perhaps because of the sheer number of IT professionals residing in Romania, ranking 6th in the world, according to one report.

Other notable metropolitan areas such as Dublin, Copenhagen, Zagreb, and others were not included, simply because we lacked sufficient data about these cities. Moreover, these numbers must be taken with a grain of salt, as information used by career resource sites are generally obtained from user-submitted figures.

IT Security is still the way to go

Few could have predicted the enormity of the shortage we are in the midst of, and there have been numerous suggestions on how to address the skills gap.

Colleges and universities have stepped up by providing graduate and undergraduate courses in information security. Although traditional academic institutions have generally been the primary source of security training, data shows that not enough people are currently able or willing to enroll in these programs, and belief that these degrees are able to prove one’s capabilities is dwindling.

Non-traditional methods are gaining traction in the community as a better way of acquiring cybersecurity skills. A study done by Intel Security reports that hands-on experience and professional certifications ranked higher than degrees among the most effective ways of gaining and demonstrating competence in cybersecurity.

Aspirants may want to look into these approaches for help to get started in this industry. Despite the variations in wages professionals from different parts of the globe receive, the cybersecurity sector continues to be a lucrative field. In fact, even the lowest average salary included in the list (Bucharest) is still well over the average national salary in its country (Romania). It remains to be an industry with an employment potential growing at a rate faster than average for all occupations.

A lot more effort is needed to solve the cybersecurity talent equation, but the foundations have mostly been laid out – from automation, diversification, government policies, traditional higher education, hacking competitions, as well as hands-on training courses and certifications. All we have to do is start.

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