CIO Survey Confirms Cybersecurity Specialists Remain In High Demand


A growing IT skills shortage is seeing CIOs offer bigger salaries as they attempt to retain key workers. According to a recent survey, over 80% of CIOs are worried about losing their best IT workers. As a result, nearly 75% of those CIOs will offer their IT workers a pay increase this year.

Specialist global IT recruitment agency Robert Half released their 2021 Salary Guide on Monday, April 26. Included in that guide was a survey of 100 top CIOs. The Guide found the IT sector was thriving, but there is an increasing concern about a growing IT skills shortage, especially in the top tier and niche corners of the sector.

“There is an increased demand for tech talent as companies expand their IT teams and enhance their digital capabilities because of the pandemic,” said David Jones, Robert Half’s Senior Managing Director (Asia-Pacific).

The most in-demand workers have strong backgrounds in IT security, IT management, business transformation, development or design, and business intelligence. The recruitment agency says workers with skills and experience in these areas are well-positioned to receive pay increases this year.

“A demand-supply imbalance is driving wage growth in the tech sector,” says Mr Jones.

Despite the pandemic and the shift to working from home, the survey found demand for top talent across all industries remains strong. Prospective employers are willing to headhunt, and CIOs need to deploy a range of incentives to retain their key IT workers.

While many industries shed workers during the pandemic, the IT sector proved resilient, with most IT workers retaining their jobs. In 2021, 30% of CIOs plan to increase their IT workforce. There is a particular demand for cybersecurity talent.

The pandemic hastened the shift to a digital environment. Coupled with that is an increase in corporate cyber risks. Strong cybersecurity defences have become a priority for companies investing and operating in the digital environment.

Cybersecurity specialists with a background in information security, network security, cloud security services, web security, and security architecture can expect to see a high demand for their services.

“Companies need experts to help avert future digital issues, such as ensuring cybersecurity is in place before a security breach happens,” says Robert Half’s Salary Guide.

But it’s not all bad news for CIOs. While most are willing to pay more to keep their top IT talent, the pandemic reinforced the need for job security. Despite the best efforts of headhunters, many IT workers are reluctant to leave their existing employer, particularly if their continued employment seems certain.

“Competition for niche skillsets such as cybersecurity remains tough as more workers stay with their existing employer,” the guide says.

For companies not able to increase salaries, focusing on job security may be one way to retain key IT and cybersecurity workers. According to Robert Half, offering a range of worker incentives, such as working remotely and an improved work-life balance, can be highly effective in retaining key IT workers.