China’s hottest job is a cyber bodyguard to protect companies from hackers

Businesses in mainland China are hiring more cyber security professionals with higher pay to combat cyber threats in a growingly digitalised operation, said recruiters.

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 August, 2017, 7:32am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 August, 2017, 10:47pm

Jobs related to the internet and e-commerce pushed aside banking and finance as China’s most sought-after white collar jobs in the first quarter of 2017, as future prospects and promises of stock options offset low salaries in the short term.

Among internet related jobs, one specialty stands heads and shoulders over mere programmers and engineers: the cyber security specialist, whose coding skills are needed to protect 21st century businesses against hackers, cyber extortionists and terrorists.

Call them the cyber bodyguards. These jobs can get average pay increments of between 25 per cent to 35 per cent, five percentage points higher than other jobs in information technology field, according to a survey by Hays, a recruiting firm.

“We have seen an increase in permanent demand for security experts across a range of clients, with analysts and architects, cyber threat intelligence analysts, consultants and cyber incident analysts being the most in demand,” said Simon Lance, Hays’ Greater China managing director.

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The strong demand is expected to continue, as a cyber security law that took effect on June 1 fuels the need for top talent to keep pace with China’s legal environment, he said.

China’s universities can’t turn out programmers and software engineers fast enough, putting a premium on these candidates’ salaries.

The demand for talent varies, as each industry comes with its unique risk profile, requiring specific skill sets, said Pang Limin, deputy general manager of CIIC Human Capital Survey and Data Solution Centre.

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Banks and financial institutions must deal with the leakage of customers’ information, and the problem of phishing, which uses fabricated messages to induce unsuspecting customers to divulge their passwords. Manufacturers are more focused on the integrity of their IT infrastructure, while internet companies are more demand ing in data protection, she said.

“In addition to bigger demand of internal talents, we are also seeing business increase their expenditure on hiring external cyber security firms to fight cybercrime,” Pang said.

Candidates with at least three to five years’ experience are most in demand, she said, noting that industry certificates can shore up talents’ competitiveness.

While business are hiring more to combat cyber threat, a stringent internal management is also much needed.

An earlier industry report showed that internal theft is the top cause of customer-data leakage in China’s massive e-commerce market, the world’s largest.

About 49 per cent of the incidents were caused by employees of the company experiencing the leakage, followed by unsafe account, malicious Trojan horse programme and systematic loopholes, according to the report from Alibaba Group, which owns the South China Morning Post.