What is a cyber security engineer's starting salary?
Estimated Read Time: 3 minutes
As more and more organisations rely on technology to operate and grow their business, the need to mitigate the threat of cyber security incidents is paramount – which means the demand for cyber security specialists is also understandably high.
For IT professionals considering pursuing a role in this field, a sensible first step is to research and understand the level of compensation you will receive.
So, to make this task easy, in this article we’ve pulled together the key information you need to know about a Cyber Security Engineer starting salary, from the range you can expect to receive to the factors that influence where you will fit on the scale, and additional considerations outside your salary that contribute to the overall value of job offers.
What does a Cyber Security Engineer do?
As a Cyber Security Engineer, you’ll play an integral role in securing information systems for organisations, working closely with the IT team to minimise the risk of security threats, breaches or attacks. Common tasks involve monitoring systems for threats, detecting risks and breaches, investigating any events and analysing and responding to them as required.
It’s important to note that the job title is also known as a Cyber Security Specialist, and while the names are often used interchangeably, there can be a difference in what the role entails depending on the organisation. For this reason, it is essential to carefully review all job descriptions and requirements provided by the hiring company, to ensure you understand the exact expectations and any differentiations before you apply.
What is the salary range of cyber security specialists in Hong Kong?
According to the Robert Half Salary Guide, the expected annual range of pay for cyber security specialists In Hong Kong at the time of writing is as follows:
- $499,000 (25th percentile)
- $629,000 (50th percentile)
- $1,020,000 (75th percentile)
In the salary guide, the role is referred to as ‘Cyber Security Specialist’ as this is the position we place, however as there is often an overlap in titles and responsibilities within the cyber security field the title Cyber Security Engineer and Specialist are often used interchangeably. Be sure to always read the job description closely to ensure it aligns with your talents and goals.
Which factors influence where you fit within the salary range?
Your level of education, experience and skills will all have an impact on where you fit within the salary range. A degree in computer science will provide you with the foundational IT knowledge necessary for the role, however an undergraduate degree in cyber security or further educational certification within the field will set you apart and increase the likelihood of a higher salary.
In addition, as most companies seeking a Cyber Security Engineer are looking for a candidate with significant technical experience, the amount of time you have worked within an IT team and your specific experience handling cyber security risks and events will also place you higher or lower on the scale, depending on your prior experience and existing skills.
Another key external factor that will affect the compensation on offer is the current market demand at the time of your application, with a high demand generally pushing up the expected salary ranges, while low demand has the opposite effect.
How to negotiate a Cyber Security Engineer starting salary
To secure a Cyber Security Engineer starting salary that rewards your talents will likely require some level of negotiation on your behalf. So what’s the best way to approach this?
As Kelvin Wong, associate director at Robert Half Hong Kong explains, the key to successfully negotiating a starting salary begins with preparation.
"Before you attend the interview, you must have a clear salary range in mind, and this should come from a combination of sources. First and foremost, understand what the current expected range is, from the lower percentile to the top, and also the factors that influence where you fit. An honest appraisal of your skills, education and experience is required, alongside an understanding of the current market demand. Once you have an idea of where you fit within the range, look closely at the job description and pinpoint the areas where your talents and knowledge really add value, as that is where your bargaining power lies."
Approaching the interview with a range in mind, rather than a set figure, also allows you some wriggle room when negotiating as you are not tied to a single amount. Keep in mind too, that some organisations will offer compensation in areas outside your salary that can make the proposal more attractive, such as benefits, bonuses and professional development opportunities.
Taking the time to look at the bigger picture of what is on offer and how it aligns with your long-term goals is a smart move when evaluating cyber security job offers.
Launch your cyber security career today
At Robert Half, we can help you launch your career and land your dream Cyber Security Specialist role faster. Talk to our experienced Hong Kong recruitment team today on +852 5808 6553 to learn about current opportunities or submit your resume and we’ll be in touch.