With UK and European businesses gearing up for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) set to land in May 2018, the demand for those skilled in data protection is growing. Data Protection Officers (DPOs) are high on the priority list for hiring managers of private sector organisations handling the monitoring and regulation of data subjects on a large scale. Though data protection jobs will be viewed as standalone positions by some businesses, in others there will be the opportunity for data protection tasks to be shared alongside other responsibilities and could either be made a permanent staff position or contract role.
Those with a background in legal, compliance, data management and data governance are viewed as the most relevantly skilled professionals eligible to take on the duties commanded by a position in data protection. Having said that, more and more training programs have been made available to provide the necessary certifications expected of someone working in data protection. Salaries for data protection jobs in the UK typically start at £47,500 with the propensity to increase as the intricacy and level of responsibility of the role comes to light via the compliance strategies data protection proponents devise and propose to ensure businesses are GDPR compliant.
For candidates applying for data protection roles in the UK, their experience should reflect a deep understanding of data protection requirements, the GDPR, privacy concerns for the business they’re applying to, knowledge of systems and processes and prior experience working within multinational corporations. Individuals with technology and data sector experience are certainly preferred, as well as those with international and cross-border experience and for some companies, an additional language, such as French or German, is an added bonus.
Data protection jobs also require an effective level of communication in candidates, both with data subjects, data authorities, controllers and processors, as well as senior management within the business, key stakeholders and decision-makers in order to successfully advise on necessary best practices, data protection programs and changes to infrastructure to ensure the organisation’s compliance with the GDPR.
Data protection professionals will also be expected to conduct gap analyses, data mapping and training in their efforts to ensure their employer meets GDPR compliance standards. There are significant advisory and consulting elements to data protection roles within large and smaller organisations alike in order to keep senior management and others informed of local data protection laws and their implications. Knowledge of information security, risk management and corporate governance, as well as excellent interpersonal skills to sustain strong client relationships are areas of experience and expertise hiring managers will be focusing on in recruiting for data protection jobs in the UK.
In addition to soft skills pertaining to organisation, initiative and communication, technical understanding of ISO management system standards and other information security frameworks, standards, and codes as well as audits are also welcome skills in practitioners of data protection.