Security Professionals’ Salaries Up 6 Percent in 2010

The median compensation for security professionals in the United States increased 6 percent from 2009 to $93,000, according to the 2010 ASIS International “U.S. Security Salary Survey.” In addition, respondents who had a Certified Protection Professional (CPP) certification earned a median salary of $118,000.

Average compensation (sum of dollars divided by the number of respondents) was $108,000, a 5.5 percent increase over last year. 2010 marks a continuation of a 5-year trend in which average compensation for salaried security professionals has risen 19 percent from $88,000 in 2006 to the current $108,000.

Other findings from the 2010 survey include:

  • Salaries of those at the bottom-rung of earners -- those in the 10th percentile --rose from $46,000 in 2009 to $52,000 in 2010, and those at the top of the scale -- the 90th percentile -- saw their compensation increase from $163,000 to $180,000.
  • The Mid-Atlantic region continues to offer the security jobs with the highest compensation ($105,000 median), up 5 percent from 2009. Conversely, the Mountain and East South Central regions offer the lowest rates of compensation, and unlike every other region in which compensation rose, these regions show stagnant or dropping wages.
  • Information and Natural Resources and Mining tied for the highest average compensation. However, the Information sector saw the greatest increase with an average salary of $142,000, up 30 percent from 2009. Natural Resources and Mining, with an average salary of $142,000, suffered a 10 percent drop from 2009 average compensation levels of $151,000.
  • Federal government and law enforcement employees report an average salary of $114,000, and the highest median of any sector at $101,000.
  • Thirty-nine percent of this year’s respondents are top-level security professionals at their organization; this group earns an average salary of $123,000 and a median of $100,000.
  • Holding a core industry certification correlates to compensation substantially higher than the salaries of peers with no certification. Those holding the Certified Protection Professional (CPP) certification, administered by ASIS, for example, report an average compensation of $118,000, 18 percent higher than 2009, and a median salary of $100,000. Those with no certification reported an average compensation of $100,000 and a median salary of $85,000.
  • Education also correlates with compensation. Thirty-one percent of respondents hold a master’s degree and report a median compensation of $122,000.

More than half (58 percent) of the survey respondents work for privately held companies, a sector reporting an average compensation of $104,000 and a median salary of $90,000. Those working for publicly held (stockholder-owned) companies (27 percent of respondents) report the highest average compensation at $124,000, with a median of $100,000.

The survey examines trends in both average and median salaries, because the two measurements can offer different perspectives; the average is a total of all items in the sector divided by the count in the sample, while the median is the precise midpoint of the range of all items reported. All ASIS members employed in the United States were eligible to participate. The results are based on 784 participants who completed the survey. The survey collected data from the current and preceding years and breaks out responses in 11 industries and 9 geographic regions. Each section drills down into 18 specific factors that affect compensation.

The “U.S. Security Salary Survey” will be available in October for $135 to ASIS members and $195 for nonmembers. For more information, visit www.asisonline.org/.

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