About the Survey Conducted
Straits Interactive made its forecast after analysing the number of enterprises in Singapore, open job positions in the market that referenced data protection company requirements, as well as worldwide and regional trends that it expects will increase demand for data protection expertise.
The research survey compared two periods – July 2016 (three months after the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) commenced enforcement actions in April) and in February 2017. It looked for open job positions available on popular job portals that referenced data protection in one way or another – job description or entry criteria. It found a total of 118 advertised positions, about 300% more than in July 2016 when only 42 such positions were advertised. Of the 118 advertised roles in February 2017, 17 were DPO roles.
Between April 2016 and February 2017, the PDPC has been creating and delivering educational and awareness campaigns and actively enforcing compliance with the PDPA. The PDPC has also warned or fined organisations from various sectors ranging from small SMEs offering goods or services to consumers, retailers, and non-profit organisations to an insurance multi-national.
“We can certainly conclude that enforcement actions over the last few months involving more than 25 companies that got into trouble with the PDPA, combined with the PDPC’s education and awareness outreach, have prompted more companies to include data protection in their job search criteria,” said Kevin Shepherdson, CEO of Straits Interactive. “We are expecting a significant increase in demand for data protection skills once heavier fines are imposed and as new laws in the region and the European Union are introduced over the next year or so. The 10,000 data protection professionals that we are forecasting over the next three years is a conservative estimate and presents an opportunity for Singapore to position herself as a hub providing data protection expertise to the region.”
This ties in with recent research done by the International Association of Privacy Professionals. “According to research released in November of 2016, the IAPP estimates that GDPR requirements will give rise to a need for more than 75,000 data protection officers in companies worldwide, including some for Singapore” said Rona Morgan, Managing Director, IAPP Asia. “The mandatory DPO requirement in Singapore gives rise to the need for many more. 10,000 is a large number but it shows the growing importance of the role of the data protection officer and the need for these professionals to be trained and professionally certified to be able to perform their roles effectively and credibly.”