Clearances Command Six-Figure Compensation Packages for IT Pros

Tech workers had an edge even over peers with security credentials.

It’s long been a trend that employees holding an active security clearance generally earn more than their non-cleared counterparts. Those salary figures are even higher for some security-cleared IT professionals, according to a new study. 

A survey of more than 16,300 security-cleared professionals by found that cybersecurity and other IT fields earned the highest salaries among security-cleared professionals, with total compensation averaging more than six figures.

More than 22 percent of respondents confirmed they work on cybersecurity initiatives, with average compensation totaling $101,198 consisting of average salaries of $88,092 and $13,106 in additional earnings. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of cybersecurity professionals reported being satisfied with their jobs, though many indicated they are interested in testing the competitive job market. Thirty-six percent said they’re likely to switch employers in the next 12 months.

Security-cleared professionals in other IT fields earned even higher salaries. Software programmers, for example, earned total compensation of $107,471 last year, while software or systems engineers earned an average of $108,064 in 2012. Program or project managers for technology ($114,917), engineering ($124,534) or other projects ($105,476) continue to be among the highest-paid security-cleared professionals, the survey found.

Overall, total compensation for all security-cleared professionals dropped 3 percent to $88,447 in 2012. ClearanceJobs cited troop withdrawals from the Middle East and lower starting pay for new security-cleared talent as reasons for the decline in pay. 

Security-cleared professionals working in the national capital region (Washington, D.C.; Maryland; and Virginia) earned the highest average salaries last year, though their compensation remained relatively flat from the previous year, coming in at $97,952 on average. Compensation in other states like Florida, California, Texas and Alabama brought down the overall average, in large part because those states all represent large aerospace defense hubs and significant military installations, ClearanceJobs found.

“Aerospace programs with high costs and budget overruns are most at risk for funding cuts, and these results indicated consistent and valid concerns around contract losses,” the report stated.