back to article Ugh, of course Germany trounces Blighty for cyber security salaries

Cyber security professionals in Germany earn on average 17 per cent more than their UK counterparts. A survey by recruitment firm Willis Towers Watson found that Germany (£56,485/€64,187) leads cyber security pay1 in Europe, followed closely by Ireland (£55,485/€63,000) and France (£51,197/€58,178). The UK ranks fifth (£48,020 …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. ratfox Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Switzerland

      Sure, salaries are twice higher in Switzerland... But then everything is twice as expensive as well!

      That said, I've never understood why IT salaries in London are so low, considering the cost of living, and what should be a healthy competition among finance companies to attract talent.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Switzerland

        That said, I've never understood why IT salaries in London are so low,

        Industry glass ceiling - you need to grow pointed hair on top of your frontal lobotomy scars to be let through.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Switzerland

          You can avoid the glass by becoming a freelance consultant.

          You are then subject to the laws of supply and demand, rather than slavery salary bands.

          I doubt freelance figures are truly reflected in the average salaries presented here, for one reason or another ;) (let's not quibble about whoo paid whooo (what tax))

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Switzerland

        > Sure, salaries are twice higher in Switzerland... But then everything is twice as expensive as well!

        False. I have Swiss relatives - every time they come over here, they complain about how expensive everything is here. They recently bought a Tesla (new) - it was £17,000 cheaper in Switzerland than it was over here (looking at Tesla CH/UK's list prices).

        1. Lotaresco Silver badge

          Re: Switzerland

          I agree, many things are cheaper in Switzerland. Fuel for a vehicle, for example - you should see the queues from Italy to fill up at the co-op petrol station at Vacallo. Restaurants are a good price compared to the UK, you couldn't get a meal for one person for £28 at most UK restaurants this side of McDonalds, let alone a "simple meal" for three.

          The bad things with Switzerland are that, scenery apart, it's more than a bit boring and as was identified above, racism is rife. Racism runs deep, from the petty racism of cheating on small change and muttering insults under one's breath to the institutional racism that is expressed particularly at anyone Turkish or even anyone from the non-German speaking cantons.

          I lived and worked there for several years and ended up living in Italy which is more expensive, lower paid but at least it's a happier place than po-faced Switzerland.

      3. mikeswisdom

        Re: Switzerland

        Everything is *not* twice as expensive, been there, done that, varies from 0.5 to 3.0 (depending on what you look at); pointless generalisation.

      4. This post has been deleted by its author

      5. EnviableOne Bronze badge

        Re: Switzerland

        you think they are low in london, try anywhere in the UK not london, they are even less

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Switzerland

      there *are* ways to live economically in Switzerland.

      The mandatory health insurance, for example, is quite steep wherever you have a major hospital city, as you are directly paying for the hospital. Living in a small village, you qualify for a much cheaper health insurance rate, but you can visit the big hospitals if and when you need it, of course. Transport is so good that living in the sticks is very fulfilling. Train tickets are much cheaper than the UK, many discount schemes apply, free city bikes etc. It usually works.

      The starting salary in Switzerland, for a neophyte computer graduate, is possibly zero - because you *really* need a Masters degree to get a real job. With the MSc you can expect about £67K for your first job going upto £85K after five years. For a squirrel-security- sorry, cyber-security job at a bank in Zürich, name your own salary! (until 'Putin' hacks you)

      it's really just food & accomodation that remain expensive, a simple meal I had there yesterday was £28 for 3 people, eating at a Ma-Migros diner, and a hand basket of frozen food items quickly got to £50. A birthday cake sized Schweizer Schwarzwäldertorte was £25, the food is allegedly much healthier than the UK. Hmm? ALDI is a great shop there, and sells beer unlike Migros.

      Some electronic hardware, iPhone, iWatch, iPad is cheaper due the low VAT rates there - but many companies price-gouge due to the captive "rich" market. I looked yesterday at a Mario Kart 7 2DS bundle for 119.- CHF, whilst in UK it is £15 cheaper, even with our much higher VAT rate. I think the biggest price shock to me was a Bosch build-in oven which was still being sold for a couple of thousand Swizz francs, whilst it was on Amazon for just three hundred quid.

      The million Franc homes in GE, ZH, well - you can get two concurrent mortgages (a 60% & a 20% - with hundred years' payback times & low interest, (but in hard CHF not declining £?)) Your pension fund (can) guarantee 10%, and you just need £76K in cash as a deposit! I believe there is at least one apartment to rent somewhere in CH, probably, tho you can't rent it until you have correct permit papers from your village, and you can't get these permit papers unless you have a permanent address :-)

      If you live as a Frontalier, based in France, Germany or Italy, expect a hour long queue to get to work & home each day, and only a doubled salary compared to your EU nation of residence; the Swiss do pay Frontaliers much less than their locally resident CH persons. They are almost, but not quite, in the EU. There were zero border formalities when I passed thru yesterday, but occasionally the Swiss can stop you and weigh your EU purchased cheese etc (sure to be horrific duty on more than 3oz.?)

      If you qualify with an MSc in anything techical/useful, and speak a bit of French or German or Italian and good English, then move there rather smartly as who knows what May come soon.

      it is sunny today https://www.srf.ch/meteo with a dash of snow on the mountains, nice.

      1. Ken 16 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Switzerland

        Thanks for the most useful discussion on living working in CH that I've seen anywhere!

        I'm Irish, MSc+ 20 years IT experience, currently working in Finance with previous experience working in Germany and Belgium. I work in the UK now and was planning to get something in DE/NL after Brexit hits but you make CH sound like a viable alternative.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Switzerland

          but you make CH sound like a viable alternative

          It's worth noting that the Swiss voted in their own binding referendum to restrict the number of EU migrants and put itself thus on a collision course with the myriad of bilateral agreements with the EU over trade, research, etc. In the SVP (Swiss People's Party) Switzerland has its own large racist political party that pushed for the referendum. The deadline for action by the government was sometime last year. I don't live there so I don't know if they managed to come up with a suitable fudge or enter uncharted constitutional waters.

          1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
            Megaphone

            Re: Switzerland

            "Switzerland has its own large racist political party that pushed for the referendum"

            Not wanting to part of the EU does not by default make someone racist. So kindly leave that often repeated claim where it belongs (In the list of many lies told by the Remain camp in 2016).

            1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

              Re: Switzerland

              Agree, but the same as being in a bar liked by and full of racist people does not make you a racist, but it sure looks llike either you dont care about the company or you are one of them.

              1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: Switzerland

                "Agree, but the same as being in a bar liked by and full of racist people does not make you a racist, but it sure looks llike either you dont care about the company or you are one of them"

                Ah...So if i were to generalise that all people who voted Remain are deeply thick racists that hate their own country? Thanks racist Aitor. It works both ways.

                Interesting to know we're allowed to joing a trading bloc under false pretences, but never allowed to leave or we're racist. Idiotic drivel

            2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Switzerland

              Not wanting to part of the EU does not by default make someone racist.

              Seems like you know sod all about Swiss politics and even less about the SVP which is most certainly does pursue a racist agenda.

              In any case I was thinking more of Germany's very own racist party, the AfD, as much as anything when I wrote the post but it also applies to the Front National in France, La Lega in Italy, Jobbik in Hungary, Golden Dawn in Greece,… UKIP, while pretty much avowedly racist, is politically irrelevant in comparison. However, seeing as how you react so strongly, makes me wonder if the lady does not protest too much.

            3. Stork Bronze badge

              Re: Switzerland

              You miss the point. In this case it _is_ a racist party. Try to search for Swiss Peoples Party ads

            4. Nano nano

              Re: Switzerland

              I do not see where the poster said that about the EU. He just said that a racist party (SVP, check their policies) pushed for a referendum to limit freedom of movement.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Switzerland

            The Swiss bottled the full implementation of the referendum (which they are supposed to do within 3 years of the result), opting for a watered down approach after the EU put all existing Swiss / EU collaborations at stake. One consequence of this was the Governments proposal to prohibit changing Swiss law if it would conflict with "international treaties of vital interest to Switzerland". Also worth noting that the margin of victory was 19.3k votes, the number of blank or spoiled ballot papers was double the winning margin (39.7k).

          3. Wim Ton

            Re: Switzerland

            The parliament watered down the result of the referendum enough to avoid economic damage and to avoid to annoy the EU.

    3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Switzerland

      ...or Norway.

  2. tip pc

    I thought the pay would be higher?

    Just what do these cyber security jobs actually do?

    1. Solarflare
      Terminator

      I'm afraid if we told you, we'd have to kill you.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        Joke

        Imho

        Cheap lightning rods.

        The term 'cyber security' is very vague. It could mean a data analyst, DB developer, firewall engineer, data protection officer, network manager, security architect, systems analyst, etc.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        but that's performance based pay

        not factored into base salary

    2. monty75 Silver badge

      In my experience, ticking boxes on a checklist and writing policies that are ten years behind best practice (eg changing your password every six weeks).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Lol I hope so.

        I don't work like that (15yr experience + CISM) and it makes me sound great when I speak to senior managers who do have security guys that work like that.

        Job interview next week which (if I get it) will take me out of the public sector and double my salary.

    3. gr00001000

      Analyse all the alerts

      The shortage in cyber security skills is the requirement of large amounts of people to perform alert analysis, threat hunting, security posture compliance analysts and incident triage and response. Theres lots of work in these.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Having done the job for 20+ years I would agree with you. I wouldn't get out of bed for even double the stated UK salary.

  3. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Well you'd need to compare available income

    Costs of living are high in Germany, for example I have to pay about 400 Euros a month (including heating and water) for my little 75m² (+basement and attic) flat. That's a bit more than 350 pounds a month. Healthcare is also organized differently so you have to pay about 20% of your income for that.

    1. Fortycoats

      Re: Well you'd need to compare available income

      €400 "warm" rent for 75m² is not all that expensive (relatively speaking). Depends on where you are. I'm at about €1000 per month for 88m² for a family of 4, but this is in southern Bavaria about an hour outside Munich.

      As far comparing costs of living, I think Dublin is far more expensive. Healthcare and childcare here are brilliant compared to Ireland. Food is much cheaper, too.

    2. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

      Re: Well you'd need to compare available income

      > pay about 400 Euros a month (including heating and water) for my little 75m² (+basement and attic) flat.

      That's not high, rather bloody cheap (especially including heating).

      In many European cities you wouldn't get that for 1000 Euros. Like in Munich, for a German example.

    3. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Well you'd need to compare available income

      Cannot comment on current costs, but when I last worked over there general cost of living was less: My expenditure on food, transport etc. much less - and "big ticket" items were far cheaper than I expected

      Accommodation is horribly expensive in UK - that DE quoted rent & associated costs would be fantastically low to my London mates - and compares to cost in shared flat (yours implied luxury of on your own) in ****hole araes of UK..

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Re: Well you'd need to compare available income

        > Accommodation is horribly expensive in UK - that DE quoted rent & associated costs would be fantastically low to my London mates - and compares to cost in shared flat (yours implied luxury of on your own) in ****hole araes of UK..

        400 EUR is currently about £350/month.

        When I was younger, I paid just shy of that - £295/mo - to rent a single room in a shared house. So I had a (tiny) room that was mine, and a shared kitchen/bathroom etc.

        When I moved out to a small studio flat, it added another £250/mo on top IIRC (and didn't include water, heating etc).

        This was in a small town, so it's not even like it's London prices artificially increasing the rate.

        That was a fair few years ago too, and rents have only gone up, so agreed, 400EUR a month is cheap as chips.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well you'd need to compare available income

      > Costs of living are high in Germany, for example I have to pay about 400 Euros a month (including heating and water) for my little 75m² (+basement and attic) flat. That's a bit more than 350 pounds a month.

      In the south of England, a (smaller) 2-bed single-floor flat will cost you about £800 per month, plus utilities, council tax, possibly parking, etc. 75m3 is about the same total floor plan as a 2-bed new-build house (4-bed is around 90m3), which are currently selling for 0ver £300,000 here.

    5. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Well you'd need to compare available income

      €400 "warm" for 75m2 is very cheap for any German city: most of the big ones breached €10 / m2 on new rentals a while ago. Hence the much touted but largely ineffective "rental brake" (German legislators come up with some odd terms) legislation.

      However, rents in the UK are significantly higher not least due to government intervention to prop up property prices. Comparisons on PPP show Germany salaries even more favourably and that despite higher deductions, hence a continuing influx of non-Germans into the tech companies.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well you'd need to compare available income

      @Christian Berger.

      I was paying ~£300 per month for my room in a student house in Kingston upon Thames in the mid 90’s. €400 is peanuts today for your own dwelling.

      What city are you in?

  4. RobertLongshaft

    SALARY?

    Which utter bloody idiot works in InfoSec on salary? Particularly in London?

    Yeah I'm happy on £60k a year and taxed at 40% when I could be on £600-£800 a day.

    Stupid is as stupid does....................

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Stop

      Now now..

      Your bigotry is showing.

      Not everyone has the risk appetite for going freelance.

    2. gr00001000

      Going freelance

      Well if you have any tips on getting started freelance in InfoSec do share them..

      Surely theres an initial big risk without a big starting contract/customer or a large contact book?

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Going freelance

        First thing you would need to do is refocus your CV to highlight the 'project' related work you've delivered.

        Remove all the fluff about how you like to go to the movies etc. on your nights off - no-one cares.

        Try to emphasize all the the things you've done that had a positive impact on the company. You need to come across as pro-active, self-sufficient and diligent - they aren't hiring 'yes-people' to kiss their arse.

        Grow a thick skin, nothing people say matters - it's results that count. Renewals are your goal now. Some contractors (who give everyone else a bad name) try to play games to get renewals, steal other peoples' work and pass it off as their own etc. Sometimes companies fall for that (it's happened to me) but they get wise after all the good people have gone and the shysters can't do anything, that's a mugs game so don't go there (please).

        Change the way you think. You no longer have a career, and you are only as good as your last contract. Part of your new job is selling yourself, so if you have the skills, prove and let people know, don't expect people to notice how you just saved the company £500k unless you tell them.

        Be confident, but don't be an arse. You might be self-sufficient, but you don't get anywhere alienating people. Don't horde knowledge, you would be amazed at how many renewals I've got on the strength that I'm not stingy with my help and/or knowledge. Plus, you can't do it all, you need to make friends on every contract as you will need help at some point.

        I should point out that there are other (less stringent) ways to 'be' a contractor, but what I've outlined is one way to be a 'successful' contractor. Your new job security is 100% based on knowing that if your contract ended tomorrow, you can safely take a few weeks holiday and know you will get another contract as soon as you make your CV 'live' on the job sites.

        Have a safety net. The hardest part of starting out is your permie notice period coupled with the short notice often required for starting a new contract. You may have to stretch your ethics at this point in time to ensure you don't leave yourself vulnerable - work it out. If you are good, then companies *will* wait for the right person, but not indefinitely.

        Once you get up and running, have 6 months money in the bank, just in case. If you have it, you won't need it but I can guarantee that if you don't have it, you will.

        There are other things, (like getting an accountant and setting up a Ltd. Company etc.) but they aren't that hard to do - talk to an accountant who specialises and get some advice in that area.

        Good luck!

        (Oh, and remember not to act like an employee when you are in a contract. The client *asks* you to perform work for them, but it's up to you how to do it. Don't *ask* for time off if you need it, *inform* the client etc.)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Going freelance

        Well if you have any tips on getting started freelance in InfoSec do share them..

        Being a BUGTRAQ or FULLD gadfly used to be a good starting point. Unfortunately the latter is dead dead and the former is near-dead now so there is no cheap way to get free publicity.

        So you will have to find a suitable victim to beat up online first to pad your CV. Do not show any mercy or compromise, be as nasty as possible and declare as many vulnerabilities as you can. Do it a few times. That should generate you enough publicity and if you are lucky a CVE or two in the name of your company to self-advertise.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Stop

      Yeah I'm happy on £60k a year and taxed at 40% when I could be on £600-£800 a day.

      Three things: 40% isn't paid on the whole salary

      £ 800 a day is nice if you can get it but you can't always and it gives companies an incentive to get rid of you when they can

      From the £ 800 you have to put more aside for your own travel, training, pension, healthcare, holiday and unemployment benefit. So, while it is indeed nice, it's not always as nice as it might seem.

      FWIW I am self-employed and have some experience in this area. Being self-employed suits some people more than others. Choosing it solely for the money is short-sighted and stupid.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        @Charlie

        Many times I've decided not to push for the upper whack, you end up with more renewals for sure. It takes time to strike the right balance, took me a few years to get it bang on :)

        Plus, you can always trade 'rate rise' against other tangibles that benefit you but don't cost the client extra dough, such as wfh.

  5. Cuddles Silver badge

    Median salaries for security pros across Europe

    Huh, I could have sworn there were more than 7 countries in Europe.

  6. Tom 7 Silver badge

    And they have those horrible laws

    that means you cant be worked to death. Some friends worked there and managed 4 day weekends skiing over the season by working 'english hours' for 3 days or so. And sometimes the company shut early as it total hours meant it had to or pay a fine.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Brainwave...

    Could this be caused by the change in the value of the pound since Brexit?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Going, going, gone, to that country over there.

    Guess you folks will have to create some more booger-booger to drive your salaries up a tad.

    If that doesn't work then try the Me Too or the whinge of how you have to pay more to get the best people, supposing you actually are the best, that is.

    Last but not least a salary bidding war might work if it hasn't happened lately.

  9. Dheinrich

    Some more numbers for you guys

    I work as Incident Responder in a big city in germany. 5+ years experience

    €61.000 per year before tax

    €35.702 per year after tax

    82m2 flat, non luxury or anything, €1400 per month (As Germans say "could" meaning no hot water energy etc.) around 1670 with the stuff included

    reduce transportation, car, insurance, etc. etc.

    there is not much left ... and I don't live a luxury lifestyle

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