Despite a declining job market and salaries for security-cleared professionals overall in the past two years – in large part due to budget cuts, furloughs and sequestration – there’s two fields that were immune to those declines and hardships: IT and cybersecurity.
A survey of nearly 21,000 security-cleared professionals by ClearanceJobs.com found that not only did the number of security-cleared professionals working in technology and cybersecurity rise in 2013 over the previous year (24 percent vs. 22 percent), average total salaries also rose 1 percent to $102,164.
Security-cleared cybersecurity professionals working in the Washington region in particular saw the largest salary increase among their peers, up 6 percent to $117,184.
IT program and project managers saw the highest jump in pay and the highest salaries of all security-cleared professionals in 2013, earning on average $125,864, an increase of 10 percent over 2012 levels.
The substantial increases in jobs and pay for cleared IT and cyber professionals in 2013 comes as cleared professionals overall saw the second year of decline in compensation, due in large part to budget cuts, furloughs and sequestration. Security-cleared pros overall earned average pay totaling $88,423, down slightly from $88,447 in 2012. Still, those figures were significantly better than 2012, when cleared professionals saw a three percent decline in pay.
“Considering every negative thrown at this job market in 2013 – the sequester, furloughs, budget cuts and the government shutdown – nearly identical compensation is a win,” Evan Lesser, founder and managing director of ClearanceJobs, said in a statement. “This year, the job market for security-cleared professionals is more stable thanks to a budget that allows contracts to be awarded and funded.”
Respondents to the survey also indicated that improvements made previously to speed the clearance process – in part to address talent gaps in areas like cybersecurity – actually flattened in 2013. Among respondents who received their final clearance within the previous two years, the majority (58 percent) received their clearance within four months. That figure is relatively flat over 2012 following significant improvements between 2010 (48 percent) and 2012 (57 percent), the study found. Despite a declining job market and salaries for security-cleared professionals overall in the past two years – in large part due to budget cuts, furloughs and sequestration – there’s two fields that were immune to those declines and hardships: IT and cybersecurity.