THE MAGAZINE

Raising the Bar

By Mike Moran

Median compensation for security professionals in the United States was $95,000 in 2008—up seven percent from 2007. For the 22 percent reporting directly to the CEO, the median was $105,000 in 2008, up from $100,000 in 2007. These numbers, based on responses to the 2008 ASIS International U.S. Security Salary Survey, are surprising given that the economic downturn has led to stagnating wages in other professions.

As in prior years, performance bonuses were a key element of this year’s compensation growth. Fifty-six percent of all respondents received performance bonuses in 2008, with the median bonus totaling $10,000, up from $8,000 in 2007. Those ranking within the 90th percentile of respondents reported a median performance bonus of $40,000, representing a full 22 percent of their total 2008 compensation.

While more respondents got bonuses, fewer benefited from profit sharing. Just 13 percent of respondents reported receiving profit sharing as part of their overall compensation package, down from 15 percent last year. Of these profits, there was little more to share in 2008 than there was in 2007, with the median rising less than 1 percent from $10,500 to $11,000.

About the same percentage had stock options this year as last, but based on value, they became a more substantial portion of compensation packages this year, ranking just below performance bonuses as part of the total compensation in 2008. For those 16 percent of respondents who received stock options in both 2007 and 2008, the median value of those options rose from $8,000 to $10,000, and the average from $15,000 to $17,000.

Among the factors affecting or correlating to compensation levels are whether you work for government (the public sector) or the private sector, what industry sector your employer is in, the size of the company, your personal qualifications, and the responsibilities of your position.

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