Cybersecurity workers won pay rises of more than 10pc on average last year as the growing sector suffers from a severe shortage of skilled workers.
Information analysts in the sector saw salaries rise by 10.5pc, according to recruitment group Hays, while cybersecurity engineers’ pay rose by 8.4pc. A series of high-profile hacks and data breaches also mean the sector is increasingly in the spotlight.
Among workers in bigger – and more traditional – industries, construction staff and property professionals received the largest raise at 2.7pc on average.
Non-cybersecurity IT staff won an average raise of 2.3pc with engineers close behind at 2.2pc.
The study found 71pc of firms plan to recruit more staff over the coming year, but 59pc reported difficulties finding the right workers, which is now severe enough to impact on their productivity.
Unemployment is at a 42-year low of 4.3pc, meaning there is a shortage of readily available workers.
Almost one-third of firms said this is holding back their growth, and 27pc said a shortage of staff is having an impact on their business development plans.
It is also becoming harder to hold on to staff – 55pc of employees told Hays they plan to move jobs in the next 12 months.
Higher pay is a key motivator – 43pc said they are unhappy with their salaries, and Hays said companies should take steps to address this dissatisfaction.
“Employees are feeling the pressure, salary dissatisfaction is fuelling the discontent and careers are being stifled. Employers are concerned about the impact this could have on their ability to capitalise on their plans for growth,” said Nigel Heap, managing director at Hays UK and Ireland.
“We therefore suggest that organisations look to make workforce planning a key strategic priority, invest in their employer brand, and use contingent workers for more than just projects. Employers need to ensure they can attract the best people and alleviate some of the pressure on their existing workforce.”
Economists would once have expected pay growth to be roaring ahead when unemployment is this low, but so far there are little signs of that dynamic – in the UK and across much of the developed world.
A new analysis by economists at the European Commission indicates that low inflation in recent years may be one factor holding back pay.
As expectations of inflation have come down, so have pay demands from employees. On top of that, low productivity growth has held back employers’ ability and willingness to pay more.
In addition, the analysts said a change in the way unions operate has also had an effect.
“Trade unions in some countries seem to have broadened the focus of trade negotiations with pay rises being just one element in a wider package,” the EC said.
“Demands regarding, for example, working-hour flexibility, training conditions or conditions for workers under fixed-term contract or part-time work for older workers seem to have gained in importance.”
Unions may also be worried that competition from overseas and from outsourced workforces could lead to job losses if pay rises too quickly.