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Are You Fairly Compensated?

Created by the Security Executive Council

The Security Executive Council regularly conducts Security Barometer quick polls of its Tier 1 Leader and online communities to take a snapshot of security practitioners’ opinions on specific security issues.

The results from this 2012 Security Barometer show an even split on the opinions of the 80+ security practitioners polled. Half of the respondents felt they were fairly compensated and half didn't. Compare this to the results from this same question asked in 2010, where only 25% felt fairly compensated.

Why We Are Not Fairly Compensated?

The Security Executive Council regularly conducts Security Barometer quick polls of its Tier 1 Leader and online communities to take a snapshot of security practitioners’ opinions on specific security issues.

The results from this 2012 Security Barometer show an even split on the opinions of the 80+ security practitioners polled. Half of the respondents felt they were fairly compensated and half didn't. Compare this to the results from this same question asked in 2010, where only 25% felt fairly compensated.

Why We Are Fairly Compensated?

The reasons given by those practitioners who feel they are fairly compensated were clear. This group was able to sell the security team (or their own skills) as a positive to the bottom line. Organizations that recognize the value of security in meeting their revenue goals demonstrate this in their concern for the development and well-being of their security employees. Consequently, their employees end up feeling fairly compensated.

2012 Security Barometer Results:



How Can The Situation Be Improved:

At all levels and functions, compensation is related to the ability to demonstrate the value being brought to the organization. The Council has spent years gathering information from current and former risk managers about what works and what doesn't when it comes to communicating value. This knowledge has been successful in helping risk managers demonstrate value, resulting in everything from position preservation during executive management shake-ups to promotions and increased awareness / funding for programs.

Here are a few take-aways from the Council regarding communicating the value the security function brings to your organization:
  • A singular method of communication will not work with all people. Just as some people react to facts and figures while others attune to personality and emotion, each organization has its own corporate culture. The messaging must change to match the audience.
  • The use of fear, uncertainty and doubt is not effective in communicating value, and it frequently backfires. Any gains using this method will be temporary.
  • Remember that there are many ways to influence revenue. Increasing revenue is not always accomplished through product design or additional sales personnel. Organizations can increase sales by creating more efficient processes. For example, look at how your security program increases supply chain effectiveness and quality assurance, or how it preserves revenue through theft and fraud prevention.
  • In organizations with a strong customer focus, your sales reps may be able to leverage your security program to their advantage when selling to customers. For these organizations, elements like safety, quality of goods and services, and business resilience can be used as selling points.
  • Employee well-being is considered critical to most, if not all, organizations. Demonstrating how security provides comfortable and safe operating environments can help make the connection with revenue that business executives demand. Don't forget the role that community involvement can play; public-private partnerships can increase employee security as well as brand awareness.
  • SSocial media has reinforced the lesson that your customers can be your best allies in communicating your value proposition to others. Consider performing an internal customer value analysis to identify who values your services and how to maximize your value to the organization.


2010 Security Barometer Results:

The latest results are an interesting contrast to what was gathered from this same question in 2010. The difference in results tends to indicate that either compensation for some is improving or that practitioners are coming to grips with slow economic growth.



Next Steps:

In security terms, when nothing negative is happening in an organization, that’s a good thing. Unfortunately, "nothing happening" is not such a good thing when it comes to executive awareness of the security function and resultant compensation.

To optimize your program and its ability to demonstrate business value, seek the people who have extensive successful experience at value communication with executives and board members. Contact the Security Executive Council at contact@secleader.com.

For more information on corporate security career development see Corporate Security Career: Career Development

Watch our 3-minute video to learn about how the SEC works with security leaders. Contact us at: contact @secleader.com.

Copyright Security Executive Council. Last Updated: March 12, 2018

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