Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP)

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Salary Survey Extra is a series of dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our annual Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

CIPP, offered by the IAPP, is the leading certification for privacy assurance and privacy protection professionals.In a 1999 episode of the NBC political drama The West Wing, one of the characters predicts that “the next 20 years” of litigation before the Supreme Court will grapple with the importance of privacy: “I’m talking about the internet. I’m talking about cell phones. I’m talking about health records, and who’s gay and who’s not.”

The timeline wasn’t exact, but the prediction was spot-on. It’s been 20 years and privacy protection has never been more important. Organizations of every sort need privacy expertise, and the Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) credential (No. 4 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list) offered by IAPP verifies that expertise at the highest level.

Here’s what the salary picture looks like for CIPP holders who responded to the Salary Survey:

All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $154,290
Median Annual Salary: $155,800
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 1 percent
Very Satisfied: 18.2 percent
Satisfied: 54.5 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 26.3 percent
Not At All Satisfied: [No responses]

All Non-U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $127,810
Median Annual Salary: $115,000
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 17.5 percent
Very Satisfied: 15.8 percent
Satisfied: 50 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 9.2 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 7.5 percent

The largest single body of CIPP holders to participate in the survey is made up of residents of the United States (47.8 percent). The rest of the CIPP holders we heard from are spread across 8 other countries: Australia, Belgium, China, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

The IT realm is typically dominated by male professionals, and only a handful of the CIPP holders we heard from — 8.3 percent of those surveyed — are women.  The CIPP crowd also skews older with 42 percent of those surveyed either between the ages of 55 and 64 (38.7 percent) or between the ages of 65 and 74 (3.9 percent). There next largest group is credential holders between the ages of 45 and 54 — 39.6 percent of respondents — with just 18 percent either between the ages of 35 and 44 (13 percent) or between the ages of 25 and 34 (4.8 percent).

A nearly perfect 99.6 percent of the CIPP holders who responded to the survey have an educational background that includes time spent at a college or university. The highest level of education completed by most CIPP holders is either a bachelor’s degree (26.1 percent of respondents), master’s degree (56.5 percent), doctorate (8.7 percent), or professional degree (8.3 percent). The remaining 0.4 percent of CIPP holders are serious strivers, having jumped straight to the workforce without completing formal education at any level.

Employment among CIPP holders is rock solid, with 95.9 percent of credential holders employed full-time and just 4.1 percent presently out of work. For most respondents, full-time employment means a regular work schedule of between 41 and 50 hours per week (60.9 percent). Out of the remaining 40 percent of those surveyed, 13.5 have a standard 40-hour work week, 12.6 percent work between 31 and 39 hours per week, and 13 percent put in more than 50 hours per week.

The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically reshuffled workplaces worldwide in 2020, and there’s strong evidence of that here: A notable 70 percent of the CIPP holders we heard from are spending their entire work schedule at home, with 65.2 percent working beneath the same roof that’s overhead when they sleep at night for more than 40 hours per week, and a further 5.2 percent working 40 hours per week from home. The rest haven’t entirely separated from their cubicles (or corner offices), working from home either between 31 and 39 hours per week (26.1 percent of respondents), or for fewer than 10 hours per week (3.5 percent).

In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of CIPP holders we heard from are employed at the director level (33.3 percent). The rest, in descending order, are either senior specialists (25 percent of respondents), managers (16.7 percent), senior managers (12.5 percent), executives (4.6 percent), specialists (4.2 percent), or rank-and-file employees (3.7 percent).

A noteworthy 79.1 percent of CIPP holders who responded to the survey are IT veterans, having worked in a role that directly utilizes one or more of their certified skills for more than a decade. The rest have been plying their certified skills for either between zero years (1 to 11 months) and 2 years (4.6 percent of respondents), between 3 and 5 years (4.2 percent), between 6 and 8 years (8.3 percent), or between 9 and 10 years (3.8 percent).

Finally, here’s the view of CIPP holders on key questions from the survey about how certification impacts job performance:

At my current job I use skills learned or enhanced through certification: 
Several times a day: 66.6 percent
Several times a week: 25 percent
Several times a month: 8.4 percent
Occasionally: [No responses]
Rarely: [No responses]

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills. 
Strongly agree: 45.9 percent
Agree: 29.2 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 20.8 percent
Disagree: [No responses]
Strongly Disagree: 4.1 percent

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 25 percent
Agree: 54.2 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 20.8 percent
Disagree: [No responses]
Strongly Disagree: [No responses]

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 29.4 percent
Agree: 37.5 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 25 percent
Disagree: [No responses]
Strongly Disagree: 8.1 percent

PAST CIPP DEEP FOCUS FEATURES

2018

2017

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