Demand for data protection experts surges in Singapore

A record number of 119 job positions for data protection officers (DPOs) or job positions requiring relevant data protection expertise were advertised in Singapore last July, according to   the latest job survey by Data Protection Excellence (DPEX) Centre , the education and research arm of Straits Interactive.

This is a 32% increase over a similar period in 2018, and exceeds available cybersecurity job positions in July 2019 by up to three times.

Increased demand was driven mainly by the government, which accounted for 34% of the overall job vacancies advertised. This was followed by sectors in health, information technology and financial services which combined, accounted for 39% of the available job positions.

Said Kevin Shepherdson, CEO of Straits Interactive and Head of the DPEX Centre, said results suggest that both private and public organisations are realising the importance of putting together measures to safeguard personal data in their care, as part of compliance with data protection requirements.

“These numbers constitute a single month’s data and are gathered from online job portals,” Shepherdson said.

“If we compute this on a yearly basis, along with job referrals and positions advertised in traditional publications, we are on track to hit the forecast we had made back in 2017 that Singapore would need a minimum of 10,000 Data Protection Professionals by 2020,” he added.

Other findings from the survey reveal that a large majority of the advertised job vacancies are for executive and managerial positions, compared to a larger demand for AVP/VP/Director positions in 2018.

The two largest departments hiring data protection expertise include information technology/information security department (44.5%) and the legal and compliance (35.3%) department.

Anticipating a shortage of competent data protection officers needed in the market, Straits Interactive and SMU Academy teamed up to offer a data protection curriculum in July last year. The latter introduced two advanced certificates (consisting of 11 modules) leading to an advanced diploma in data protection, the first in the region.