Security Clearance Garners Earnings Edge; National Average at $92,368 Finds ClearanceJobs Survey

February 23, 2010

DES MOINES, Iowa, Feb. 23 /PRNewswire/ — Professionals holding active federal security clearances maintained a compensatory advantage with average earnings of $92,368, according to ClearanceJobs.com, the leading online career resource for professionals with active federal security clearance. Compensation is defined as including salary, overtime, “danger pay,” and bonuses. However, 19 percent of defense industry workers who received pay increases attribute the gain to changing employers – suggesting a high turnover rate among professionals with security clearance.

“Government agencies and their contractors are vying for the same talent pool of security-cleared professionals and the poaching goes both ways,” said Evan Lesser, founder & Director of ClearanceJobs. “Continued increases in defense and homeland security needs drive both the strong job market and healthy compensation. However, government agencies and contractors should take note of the turnover issue which isn’t new, but indicates a level of competition to fill key security-cleared positions not seen in other industries.”

Overall Job and Earnings Satisfaction Remains High including War Zones

According to the survey, security-cleared professionals (62 percent) are satisfied with their jobs. In contrast, 21 percent of workers were dissatisfied and 17 percent were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. Those with intelligence agencies including the CIA, FBI and NSA demonstrated the highest levels of satisfaction at 69 percent. Homeland Security employees and contractors showed the lowest levels of job satisfaction with 46 percent satisfied, 26 percent dissatisfied and 28 percent neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.

In terms of earnings, 61 percent were satisfied and 23 percent dissatisfied. Once again, intelligence agencies displayed the highest levels of satisfaction, topping the charts at 71 percent, with employees within Homeland Security proving the least satisfied at 50 percent.

Likewise, earnings satisfaction for security-cleared professionals working in Afghanistan and Iraq is strong at 70 percent and 67 percent satisfaction, respectively. Of course, having the largest out-of-country earnings is a factor with Afghanistan-based professionals earning $159,558, just surpassing their colleagues in Iraq at $155,544.

Military respondents earned notably less than the overall average for all respondents. Cleared military professionals on average received $67,751 in compensation with specific branches earning the following: Navy ($73,826), Air Force ($67,240), Army ($65,028), and the Marines ($66,393).

Domestic vs. Abroad Clearance Makes a Difference

Across the country, California, Virginia and Washington, DC earned on average at least $98,500. While cleared professionals based in Florida report average compensation of $81,034, below the average, they were the most satisfied stateside respondents with their compensation.

The top 10 highest average earnings for cleared professionals by state/district are:


    California                    $98,968
    Virginia                      $98,658
    Washington, DC                $98,542
    Maryland                      $94,398
    Ohio                          $90,948
    Colorado                      $85,395
    New Jersey                    $83,808
    Florida                       $81,034
    Alabama                       $79,990
    New York                      $77,391

Nearly one-quarter of security-cleared professionals working in the Capital region (Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia) attributed their compensation increases to changing employers, above the national average. In addition, the region boasts the richest concentration of respondents (39%) with current polygraphs creating an earnings edge.

Nationally, security-cleared professionals with current polygraphs earned approximately 20 percent more than those without a polygraph. Topping six-figures, their compensation averaged $105,785.

Clearance Offers Premium For Technology Professionals

The value of a clearance can also be seen by examining compensatory value placed on specific job titles. When comparing cleared technology professionals with their uncleared colleagues, security-clearance made a significant impact on salaries at both ends of the title spectrum.

For example, the highest premiums for a clearance were garnered by Desktop Support Specialist (12%), just outpacing IT Management (CEO, CIO, CTO, VP, Dir.) who garnered a ten percent salary premium. In fact, ten of the 12 titles studied showed salary premiums attributable to holding a clearance including Project Managers (5%), Programmers (5%), Systems Administrators (4%), Business Analysts (3%) and Software Engineers (3%).

Additional findings include:

  • Security-cleared professionals with Intelligence Agency issued clearance were on average the highest paid at $112,894. This compares to average earnings of DOD secret holders at $84,211.
  • Security-cleared government contractors as a group registered higher average salaries ($98,088) than government employees ($85,129). Of the government agencies, State Department workers and contractors have the highest average compensation ($111,186).

Please visit www.clearancejobs.com/files/salary.htm for the full survey results, including reports and analysis on compensation by location including a specific break-out of the Capital region, clearance level, polygraph level, employer type, war zone, satisfaction, job category, and salary premiums for cleared technology professionals. Data for the Security Clearance Jobs Compensation Survey, believed to be the most comprehensive survey of the industry, was collected from 3,633 security-cleared professionals between October 2009 and January 2010.

About ClearanceJobs.com

ClearanceJobs, a Dice Holdings, Inc. service, is the leading Internet-based job board dedicated to matching job seekers who hold an active security clearance with the best hiring companies searching for new employees. Authorized U.S. government contractors and their representatives utilize the service to quickly and easily locate candidates with specific security clearance requirements to fill open jobs. For more information, please visit www.ClearanceJobs.com.

    For more information:

    Dice Holdings, Inc.
    Jennifer Bewley, 212-448-8288

    - or -

    Makovsky + Company
    Kona Luseni, 212-508-9684

    Jonathan Blank, 212-508-9615

SOURCE ClearanceJobs.com

Source: newswire

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