With a challenging job market and an ever-present skills gap within the security industry, prospective employees and students determining their career trajectories want to know: “What does the compensation look like?” While salary and compensation won’t prevent burnout or reduce on-the-job stress levels, it’s certainly an important metric within the industry that allows security peers to see where their position lies within the average. It can also be an attractive selling point for recruiting others into the industry.
The Foushée Group, a compensation research company, has produced the Security & Compliance Compensation Survey annually for the last 20 years. The survey is designed to provide accurate and timely compensation information on 78 security and compliance positions to companies who seek to price their positions to the national market.
The survey input is not based on self-reporting; rather, the survey questionnaire is sent to human resource professionals who review the provided job descriptions and match their jobs to the survey position descriptions. All data reported is aligned with the Department of Justice safe harbor guidelines for reporting compensation information. No individual company data is identifiable; the data is reported in weighted averages, median, percentile distributions and other pertinent data. Participating companies range in revenue size from under $500 million to more than $150 billion.
Compensation surveys are a snapshot in time, reflecting the data at the effective date of the information. For the 2021 survey, it’s important to keep in mind that the Foushée Group requested data by the end of January 2021. Looking back at the state of the country at the beginning of 2021, there were significant challenges. A national election had just transpired, and, most importantly, COVID-19 was continuing to have a major effect on the country, states, towns and businesses. Employees that still had a job were mostly working from home. Many businesses were shut down either temporarily or permanently. Borders were closed, travel was greatly limited, and employers and employees felt great uncertainty when looking to the future. Merit increases were challenging to define and not yet fully available in their reflection of the market conditions. Bonuses were being calculated and paid based on 2020 performance, and long-term incentives were being calculated for 2020. The 2021 Security & Compliance survey reflects a chaotic time for companies.
Security magazine asked the Foushée Group to provide some trend data from the 2016 and 2021 surveys. Five jobs from the survey are highlighted here:
- Top Global Security Executive (Chief Security Officer)
- Director, Computer, Network & Information Security
- Manager, Corporate Investigations
- Senior Regional Manager, Domestic Security
- Manager, Protective Forces, Armed
The Foushée Group pulled data from the published 2016 survey and compared data points to the published 2021 survey for the same jobs. All data points (weighted average, aggregate) include base salary, total compensation (base plus bonus) and annual long-term incentive (LTI) target.
Top Global Security Executive (Chief Security Officer)
When comparing reported data from the 2016 survey to the 2021 survey, the Chief Security Officer (CSO) or Top Global Security Executive position's base pay weighted average in the aggregate decreased by 0.1% over the reporting period to $326,162 annually. Base salary plus bonus increased by 15.6% to $476,091 annually. Bonuses are pay-at-risk and tend to vary based on company goals, profitability and employee performance, and they recognize company and employee performance for the past year.
Most CSO positions are eligible for LTIs, usually paid in company stock over a set number of years. The LTI annual target increased by 240.6% over the reporting period to $307,209 annually. In this comparison, companies have leveled the base pay increase for the CSO and significantly increased pay-at-risk, including LTI, focusing the executive on long-term company goals with the possibility of a significantly greater upside in LTI compensation spread over the number of years in the plan.
**click to enlarge
Chart courtesy of The Foushée Group
Director, Computer, Network & Information Security
Comparing data from the 2016 survey to the 2021 survey, the Director, Computer, Network & Information Security base pay weighted average in the aggregate increased by approximately 3.8% to $202,739 annually. Base salary plus bonus increased by 10.4% to $249,146, while, for those positions eligible for LTI, the target increased by 24.7% to $63,294.
Information, network and cybersecurity continue to impact company operations significantly, and experts at the Foushée Group feel these positions will continue to be in high demand. Compensation for these positions will increase at a higher than normal rate into the future as demand continues.
Manager, Corporate Investigations
Comparing data from the 2016 survey to the 2021 survey, the Manager, Corporate Investigations base pay weighted average in the aggregate increased by approximately 5.9% to $146,891 annually. Base salary plus bonus increased by 11.2% to $170,455, while, for those positions eligible for LTI, the target increased by 2.9% to $23,809 when comparing the 2016 survey numbers to 2021 reported numbers.
Senior Regional Manager, Domestic Security
When comparing data from the 2016 survey to the 2021 survey, the Senior Regional Manager, Domestic Security base pay weighted average in the aggregate, increased by approximately 9% to $172,391 annually. Base salary plus bonus increased significantly by 14.9% to $209,739, while LTI target rates increased by 19.3% to $34,855. This position manages the organization’s largest geographic/profit region’s security function reflected by the company’s operations in a particular area.
Manager, Protective Forces, Armed
The Manager, Protective Forces, Armed base pay weighted average in the aggregate when comparing data from the 2016 survey to the 2021 survey increased 11.8% to $130,997 annually. Base salary plus bonus increased by 14.5% to $146,388, while most surveyed reported the positions ineligible for an LTI grant.
Based on the data reported in the 2016 survey compared to 2021, many security positions have increased base pay, bonuses and long-term incentives as companies try to maintain a competitive market position. Historical and current market compensation trends indicate that most companies are shifting to “pay-at-risk,” offering the employee significant upside potential through bonuses and LTI programs. These programs are designed to align employees to company and personal goals while maintaining a competitive base pay. Pay-at-risk is very attractive to employers because the company can keep fixed costs, such as base pay, to a manageable level while incentivizing employees to align with company goals. Currently, many companies are allowing their employees to work from home, which presents significant challenges to traditional models of pay delivery. Some companies that pay geographic differentials to their exempt level positions are considering reducing base pay to employees working from home in a lower cost of living area.
Many factors influence the reporting numbers, such as company participation, market timing, the company’s ability to pay, compensation philosophy and value of the position to the company. Security leaders are wise to participate in a compensation survey typically housed in their Human Resources group. Here is the first question leadership should ask HR: “Is my job market-priced annually, and if not, why?” In today’s market, a company that does not have mechanisms to gauge position value in this human capital market may find it difficult to attract and retain excellent talent and maintain a competitive position.
The Security & Compliance Survey
The survey solicits data on the competitive practices of 78 management, professional and technical positions in the security and compliance field. Current security and compliance job families include:
- Classified Materials/Material Controls
- Corporate Investigation
- Console Operator
- Computer & Information Security
- Domestic Security
- Emergency Preparedness
- Executive Protection
- Global Compliance & Ethics
- Global Security
- International Security
- Network Security
- Nuclear Accountability
- Physical Security — Unarmed
- Protective Forces — Armed
- Regional/Business Unit Security
- Regulatory Compliance
- Security Clearance
- Security Programs
- Security Systems & Training
- Threat Analysis
For organizations interested in participating in next year’s survey, input is due to the Foushée Group by January 31, 2022, and the survey will be published in March 2022.
According to the Foushée Group, organizations may participate for free and can purchase the comprehensive survey report, which includes a hardcopy and e-version of the report. The Foushée group also publishes an Environmental, Health & Safety survey annually. The 36th edition will launch in April and publish at the end of July. For additional information on participating in the 2022 survey and report, visit www.fousheesurvey.com or contact Steve Walker at 239-282-1929.