Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on CIPP

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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

CIPP certification is likely to land you at the top of the corporate food chain.How much of what you do online can be seen and tracked by others? Actually, there’s an even more alarming — and not at all hypothetical — question on the minds of many, given the recent repeal in the United States of FCC-issued online privacy protections. Suddenly, the question isn’t just who can see what you’re doing online, it’s who can additionally harvest that  information and sell it to others?

Consumer privacy protection has become a piping hot potato for lawmakers in countries around the globe, and many more fingers are likely to get burned in the short term as solutions come and go. And even as lawmakers quibble, there is still work to be done and data to be protected. The demand for professionals empowered to safeguard digital privacy will only increase.

The rising tenor of that already intense interest is signaled in part by the lofty No. 2 overall perch of the IAPP’s Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) credential in this year’s Salary Survey 75. CIPP clearly encompasses a skill set that both corporations and governments are desperate to add to their organizational toolkit.

More than 90 percent of CIPP holders who responded to this year’s survey are from the United States, so we don’t have any reliable non-U.S. data, though the credential does appear to have multiple beachheads on foreign shores. Among U.S. CIPP holders, the average annual salary in 2016 was $144,580, with a median annual salary of $146,670.

Somewhat uniquely in the male-dominated cybersecurity realm, a larger-than-usual 18.5 percent — nearly one-fifth — of CIPP holders who responded to our survey are women. CIPP holders are also likely to be older, more established IT professionals: 55.6 percent of those surveyed are between the ages of 45 and 54, while an additional 37 percent are either between the ages of 55 and 64 (25.9 percent), or between ages of 65 and 74 (11.1 percent). That leaves fewer than 8 percent (!) who are under the age of 44.

The highest level of education attained by most CIPP holders is either a bachelor’s degree (40.6 percent of those surveyed) or master’s degree (26 percent). An unusually robust 8 percent hold some form of professional degree (although this does seem like a field that would attract, for example, a fair number of law degrees). College education is not a requirement, as roughly 7 percent of those surveyed have merely a high-school diploma, while 14.8 percent completed some degree of technical training.

Most CIPP-certified individuals, it would seem, are on the job (so to speak): 90 percent of CIPP holders in the survey are employed full-time, with an additional 7 percent claiming part-time employment. Most who have jobs work a longer-than-normal schedule, putting in either between 41 and 50 hours per week (50 percent of those surveyed), or more than 50 hours (13.4 percent). Roughly 27 percent enjoy a standard 40-hour week, leaving a handful of fortunate souls who enjoy a bit more time away from the office.

CIPP-certified individuals are astonishingly likely to be found at or near the topmost rungs of the corporate ladder. A shade less than half of those surveyed are either executives (9.6 percent) or directors (40 percent), with an additional 17 percent identifying as managers (7 percent) or senior managers (10.1 percent). Most tech-centric certified populations have their biggest bulge at the senior specialist tier, but only 23 percent of CIPP holders are at that level, while just 6.7  percent are specialists, and 3.3 percent are rank-and-file employees.

As indicated by the age of survey respondents, most CIPP holders are seasoned IT veterans, with nearly 77 percent having work in information privacy protection for more than 10 years. We did track a handful of CIPPs who have been in the privacy protection ranks either between 9 and 10 years (14.6 percent of respondents) or between 6 and 8 years (6 percent), but we didn’t come across many newcomers. Just 3 percent of those surveyed have been in the game for between 0 years (1-11 months) and two years.

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: 70.4 percent
Several times a week: 14.8 percent
Several times a month: 3.9 percent
Occasionally: 7.4 percent
Rarely: 3.5 percent

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills. 
Strongly agree: 48.1 percent
Agree: 37 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 11.1 percent
Disagree: 3.8 percent
Strongly Disagree: [No responses]

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 12 percent
Agree: 48.2 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 29 percent
Disagree: 10.8 percent
Strongly Disagree: [No responses]

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 22.2 percent
Agree: 41.1 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 25.7 percent
Disagree: 11 percent
Strongly Disagree: [No responses]

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CertMag Staff

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Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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