Friday, 20 March 2015

Stratospheric salaries for superstar DPOs

The noise around the GPDR is currently having one remarkable effect.

Fears about the complexity of the final version of the text, together with concerns about the impact of ridiculously high fines on businesses that transgress are rippling through the DP job market.

Today, if you know where to look (in London), you can apply for a part-time privacy officer role for an annual (pro-rated) salary of £70,000 – or if you fancy a full-time job, one organisation is currently prepared to pay up to £150,000 for the right candidate.

Lets put that in context. £150,000 is more than the Prime Minister’s salary. And, yes, more than the Information Commissioner’s salary. Even £70,000 is much, much, more than the salaries of the overwhelming majority of the staff at the ICO.

I’m really not sure if it was intended by the drafters of the upcoming GDPR that the salaries of those who were expected to implement it were likely to be so much greater than the salaries of those who were expected to regulate it.

But that is the consequence of what is happening.

And the more complicated this thing gets, and the more noise that is generated about the new “rights” that citizens are going to have with regard to their own personal data, the more the DPO salaries are likely to rise. 

Responsible controllers – and certainly those in the heavily regulated sectors – will continue to suck up the brightest talent, and will be obliged to offer salaries that, thanks to the current scarcity of experienced data protection practitioners, will compare very favourably with other trades.

Is this really what we want?

As a consultant or an employee, probably yes.

As a business owner, probably not.

As a regulator – well, at least it ensures that the ICO will continue to act as a training academy for those that want to hone their data protection skills before they transfer to the private sector. 

Experienced DPOs interested in changing jobs may want to contact me (very discretely) to learn more about the roles I’ve referred to in this blog.