Privacy Professional Salaries and Women in the Privacy Industry

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

Salary 02

by Daniel J. Solove

The IAPP recently released a report on the salaries of privacy professionals, and the findings are quite interesting.  According to the results:

Since 2003, the first year the IAPP fielded one of its salary surveys, the mean base salary has increased from $101,146 to $152,136. The U.S. has shown the most significant growth in mean base salary in recent years, from $123,661 in 2012 to $163,170 in 2015.

Of the survey’s 1,305 respondents, 240 were chief privacy officers (CPOs) and 1,065 identified as not being CPOs. CPOs reported a mean base salary of $177,382 while non-CPOs reported a mean base salary of $146,447. Median salaries were $138,900 for CPOs and $106,853 for non-CPOs.

The most seasoned privacy professionals (16-20 years of experience) had a mean base salary of $653,911.

In a period of time that hasn’t seen much salary growth generally, the privacy industry appears to be growing quite robustly in salary and in size.

One of the most interesting findings of the survey involves the salaries of women in the privacy industry.  Overall, across all industries, “women still make 78 cents for every dollar earned by men working full time.”  But in the privacy industry, women make 96% of what men make.  According to a Fast Company article:

In the U.S. privacy industry, men were paid a median salary of $130,000 last year compared to women who were paid $125,000. In Europe, women in privacy professions made more on average than men, with women being paid $100,000 and men $92,600.

Another fact that indicates that the privacy industry is a place where women thrive: “Women in the U.S. privacy industry are 33% more likely to have a seat in the C-suite compared to their male counterparts.”

What accounts for these facts?  In the Fast Company article, Trevor Hughes, CEO of IAPP, opines: “I think the fact that we emerged as a new profession relatively recently, there was not the baggage that other professions carry in terms of male dominated culture.”  Patrice Ettinger, CPO of Pfizer, opines that women moved into the field early on and became mentors to others.

Indeed, when I think of who the most well-known and seasoned CPOs are, a very high number are women.  It makes me proud to be in a field that has such a better gender balance and parity than other fields.

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This post was authored by Professor Daniel J. Solove, who through TeachPrivacy develops computer-based privacy training, data security training, HIPAA training, and many other forms of awareness training on privacy and security topics.  

Privacy Security Forum Ad 22Professor Solove is the organizer, along with Paul Schwartz of the Privacy + Security Forum (Oct. 21-23 in Washington, DC), an event that aims to bridge the silos between privacy and security. 

If you are interested in privacy and data security issues, there are many great ways Professor Solove can help you stay informed:
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