IT careers summed up

There are 1.3 million information security professionals worldwide, a 14.5% increase over 2003, according to estimates by IDC, and that number is expected to increase to 2.1 million by 2008. In a survey of 5,371 full-time information security professionals in more than 80 countries, IDC and its co-sponsor, the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, also found the following:

  • Companies are reluctant to outsource security jobs because of concerns about a lack of control over the workforce and international laws regarding data loss.
  • Regulations like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, HIPAA and the Graham-Leach-Bliley Act are driving growth, as are new technology implementations and ever-evolving threats.
  • More than 97% of respondents had moderate to very high expectations for career growth.
  • Security professionals have experienced growth in job prospects, career advancement, base salaries and salary premiums for certification at faster rates than other areas of IT.
  • Information security managers believe that continuing education and certification are important to the profession, with strong business acumen becoming an essential ingredient for professional success.
  • More than 10% of respondents held executive management titles such as chief information security officer and chief security officer-positions that didn't exist 10 years ago.

Toxic Toll

A new study indicates that 90% of the world's highest-paid and best-educated executives aren't helping their companies increase sales or profits, and 38% aren't providing any quantifiable benefit at all to their organizations.

The study focused on 3,104 executives deemed most critical to the success of some of the biggest companies in the U.S., Australia, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden and the U.K.

Looking at criteria such as profit, revenue, process improvement, product improvement, customer satisfaction, teamwork, safety and social responsibility, here's how the top execs shook out:

Susan Lucia Annunzio, CEO of the Hudson Highland Center for High Performance, conducted the study. She found that high performers' bosses shield them from company interference, politics and bureaucracy so they can do their work. In contrast, nonperformers' bosses provide no protection from external interference, let them tread neck deep in distractions that have nothing to do with their jobs and often foster "toxic" practices such as hoarding information, embarrassing people with public criticism, micromanaging, shirking responsibility, taking credit for others' successes and pursuing personal agendas at the expense of the team.

Other Findings:

  • The more hours and fewer vacation/sick days executives logged at toxic workplaces, the worse their performance got.
  • 77% of respondents thought their work increased company revenue, compared with 10% whose work actually did.
  • Only 17% are developing new products or services, while 40% are focused on increasing internal efficiencies.
  • The single biggest impediment to high performance, Annunzio says, is short-term thinking, which leads to overworking executives and cutting muscle along with fat.

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