Cyber chiefs to get salary bump amid hack threats

Cybersecurity chiefs in U.K. and U.S. technology companies are set to see a significant salary bump next year, a study shows, as companies look to bolster their defenses following major hacking breaches.

Chief information security officers (CSO) at British technology firms are expected to earn between £97,500 ($156,478) and £145,250 in 2015, up 5.7 percent from 2014, according to recruitment firm Robert Half. The salary rise outstrips the 2.6 percent average increase across all professional roles in finance and accounting, financial services, information technology and administration that Robert Half surveyed.

In the U.S., CSOs will see a 7.1 percent salary rise to a range of $134,250 to $204,750 next year.

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"Technology hiring continues its upward climb, with employment within the industry forecast to grow at 2.19 percent a year, nearly five times faster than the UK average," Robert Half said in a press release.

"The market is being driven by the end of years of under-investment in IT systems plus technology advancements that are driving huge business change and new ventures."

Federico Caputo | Getty Images

'Big threats'

The report comes after a number of major corporations have suffered from high-profile cyber attacks. Earlier this month, investment bank JPMorgan said a cyber breach affected the accounts of 76 million households and about seven million small businesses, but stressed that financial information was not compromised.

Meanwhile in the U.S., retailer Home Depot admitted last month that 56 million cards may have been compromised in an attack on its payment terminals.

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"The pay rise reflects the fact that companies are taking cyber risks seriously and it is becoming important for businesses given some of the things we've seen in terms of the big threats and the impact that has had on an organization," Sian John, senior security strategist for EMEA at Symantec, told CNBC by phone.

Role responsibility increasing

Cyberattacks can hit organizations financially, with the average annualized cost incurred to U.S. companies at $12.7 million in 2014, according to a report by the Ponemon Institute and HP. U.S. retailer Target was forced to slash its outlook for the year after a breach saw 40 million shoppers' payment card details stolen last year.

Companies are taking the CSO role more seriously now, according to experts.

"The value of that role to the business is dramatically growing," Greg Day, FireEye's chief technology officer for EMEA, told CNBC by phone.

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