Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on ISACA CISM

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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

The CISM certification issued by ISACA is a premier information security credential.Effective cybersecurity requires a lot of people to think and act in concert, generally as a result of clear direction and leadership. The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) from ISACA (No. 16 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list) verifies that seasoned cybersecurity professionals have the expertise to provide expert guidance to an entire business or organization.

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

All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $144,460
Median Annual Salary: $142,000
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 16 percent
Very Satisfied: 22.3 percent
Satisfied: 43.8 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 15.2 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 2.6 percent

All Non-U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $91,290
Median Annual Salary: $84,050
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 4.7 percent
Very Satisfied: 16.8 percent
Satisfied: 42.4 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 30.2 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 5.8 percent

ISACA certifications are popular around the world, so while 39.4 percent of CISM holders who participated in the survey live and work in the United States, it’s no surprise that we also heard from credential holders in 47 different countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Colombia, Croatia, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

Men outnumber women across the board in the IT industry, and that’s true here as well: only 6.7 percent of CISM holders who responded to the survey are women.  Also in keeping with prevailing IT trends, most CISM holders are solidly middle-aged, either between the ages of 35 and 44 (35.2 percent of respondents) or between the ages of 45 and 54 (34.2 percent). There are outliers at both ends of the age spectrum, with roughly 8 percent of those surveyed either between age 18 or younger (0.3 percent) or between the ages 25 and 34 (8.1 percent), and the remaining 15 percent either between the ages of 55 and 64 (20.4 percent) or between the ages of 65 and 74 (1.8 percent).

Close to 90 percent of the CISM holders who responded to the survey have an educational background that includes time spent at a college or university. The highest level of formal education completed by most CISM holders is either a bachelor’s degree (34.5 percent of those surveyed), master’s degree (46.2 percent), associate’s degree (3.5 percent), doctorate (3.5 percent), or professional degree (2.1 percent). That leaves the roughly 10 percent of respondents who never set foot across the threshold of an ivy tower, either topping out with some form of post-high school technical training (5.3 percent) or exiting the realm of formal education after completing high school (4.2 percent), with the remaining 0.7 percent of those surveyed currently in the process of furthering their education.

All but a sliver of the CISM holders we heard from are employed full-time — 95.9 percent of respondents — with 1.7 percent holding part-time employment, 1,4 percent out of work altogether, 0.7 percent on sabbatical, and 0.3 percent who are currently students. Among those who have full-time jobs, most are at work either for the standard 40 hours per week (29.9 percent of those surveyed) or put in between 41 and 50 hours per week (45.1 percent). The rest are either working super hard, putting in more than 50 hours per week (14.8 percent of respondents), or are getting off easy, putting in either between 31 and 39 hours per week (9.2 percent) or between 20 and 30 hours per week (1 percent).

The COVID-19 pandemic shifted a lot of workers from traditional office workspaces to a home-based setup. Roughly 20 percent of CISM holders who participated in the survey enjoy the freedom of sweatpants for more than half the work week, working from home either between 21 and 30 hours per week (7 percent), between 31 and 39 hours per week (13 percent), 40 hours per week (23.3 percent), or more than 40 hours per week (34.5 percent). The remaining 22 percent work from home either fewer than 10 hours per week (13 percent) or between 10 and 20 hours per week (9.2 percent).

In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of CISM holders who participated in the survey, 28.7 percent of those surveyed, are employed at that senior specialist level. The rest, in descending order, are either senior managers (20.9 percent), directors (18.7 percent), managers (17.8 percent), specialists (6.5 percent), executives (5.6 percent), or rank-and-file employees (1.8 percent).

Roughly two-thirds (63 percent) of the CISM 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 (1.6 percent), between 3 and 5 years (10.9 percent), between 6 and 8 years (12.1 percent), or between 9 and 10 years (12.4 percent).

Finally, here’s the view of CISM 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: 52 percent
Several times a week: 29.9 percent
Several times a month: 10.6 percent
Occasionally: 7.2 percent
Rarely: 0.3 percent

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills. 
Strongly agree: 41.5 percent
Agree: 41.7 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 14 percent
Disagree: 1.9 percent
Strongly Disagree: 0.9 percent

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 29.3 percent
Agree: 45.2 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 19.6 percent
Disagree: 4 percent
Strongly Disagree: 1.9 percent

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 29.9 percent
Agree: 42.7 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 20.9 percent
Disagree: 4.4 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2.1 percent

PAST CISM DEEP FOCUS FEATURES

2018

2017

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