Cyber security analysts are the biggest salary winners of 2019 as a new study shows their pay has jumped as much as 20% in the last year.
The hike was attributed to the general demand among businesses to boost their online security.
The report noted that much of the increase came from companies bidding for experts.
One would make an offer and another firm would make a counter offer, sending the average salary soaring.
It comes after a recent warning by business group Ibec that Ireland’s digital economy was under threat due to a growing skills shortage in cyber security.
The report includes an economic report commissioned from Bank of Ireland, which found 2020 will be another year of growth and job creation for the Irish economy.
Brightwater’s managing director Barabara McGrath said that while Dublin may be the focus for companies creating jobs, ‘the regions have also seen their fair share of job creation’, particularly in cyber security.
The demand for tech specialists is expected to grow over the next year.
‘As in 2019, 2020 will see a rise in salaries which have risen on average between 3% and 5%, but in certain sectors such as IT where there is a considerable shortage of talent, we have seen some salary increases up to 10%,’ Ms McGrath said.
While salaries in the IT sector have remained ‘buoyant’, key factors such as counter offers have led to certain employees – specifically in cyber security – experiencing huge pay boosts. Dublin was labelled a ‘real tech hub’, but experts said Cork was also experiencing a cyber boom.
A cyber-security analyst is responsible for protecting an organisation from hackers and other cyber threats. A senior analyst can earn €70,000 and above.
There are currently around 6,500 people employed in cyber security and there has been a 40% increase in vacancies in the last two years.
Elsewhere in the report, the engineering and construction industry was shown to have enjoyed a ‘resurgence’ in the last year.
In some areas the survey reported salary increases in this industry could be as high as 12%.
Analysts pointed out that much of the construction in Ireland is related to housing and therefore not directly impacted by Brexit.
And the life sciences and pharmaceutical industries also experienced strong growth. Salaries in this area have gone up by up to 14%, with areas such as Munster and Connacht experiencing a booming life sciences scene.
The survey also found that 2.3million Irish people are currently in work, taking the overall unemployment rate down to 4.8%.
And while salary remains an important factor in attracting talent, the report noted that ‘company culture’ was becoming increasingly important to potential employees.
How to get the gig…
SO how does someone get a job in cyber security?
Qualifications: According to recruitment website GradIreland, aspiring specialists require a bachelor’s degree in IT security, computer programming, computer science or a related field.
Skills: Strong IT skills and knowledge including hardware, software and networks; ability to use logic and reasoning; a forensic approach to challenges; a deep understanding on how hackers work; and ability to seek out vulnerabilities in IT infrastructures.
Employers: Cyber-security analysts are now being recruited by a wide range of businesses. These include network providers, government, banks, schools, universities, airlines and consultancy firms.
Salaries: The average starting salary is €42,000, according to GradIreland. Senior specialists can expect upwards of €70,000.