The future of Data Privacy Officers in India

Companies have started to give away the responsibility of ensuring data privacy and compliance to Chief Data Privacy Officers. ETCIO explores hiring and salary trends for this position in India.

Corporates have realised the need for hiring a data privacy officer to protect data and stay compliant with GDPR and other regulations. Recently Vodafone Idea appointed Mathan Babu Kasilingam as the new CISO & Data Privacy Officer.

There was only a few thousand official privacy officers worldwide before GDPR came into effect in 2018. By 2019, it was estimated that globally already half a million organizations were relying on the expertise of a privacy officer.

“In India, Section 43 (A) of the new IT Amendment Act 2008 clearly states that a corporate body has to protect sensitive personal data. The post of Chief Privacy Officer was created to address the complex privacy requirements of clients and also to spread awareness about the need for privacy. In most organizations, the CPO’s role is driven by regulatory requirements. But as India does not have any privacy law, the momentum is yet slow,” Mini Gupta, Partner–Cyber Security, EY India.

Hiring trends

While data privacy professionals may or may not become a part of the Board of Directors soon, the discussion around data protection and privacy will feature regularly at board and management meetings.

According to Gaurav Chattur, Managing Director-APAC at Catenon, which is a tech-based multinational company specialized in data-driven recruitment services of senior executives, CIOs are now restructuring their teams and prioritising professionals for data privacy under the CISO team.

“The B2C segment has been very aggressive in hiring professionals with data privacy, compliance, and data protection skill sets. In recent times, we have seen companies demanding senior executives in the role of Chief Data Privacy and Compliance Officer — the role which is different yet aligned to the role of a CIO and CISO. From career stability and salary point of view, these roles are very rewarding and definitely here to stay. The higher the risk involved, the higher the remuneration will be,” Chattur highlighted.

After evaluating the industry standard of salary disbursements in various industries, expecting an in-hand figure of around Rs 20 lacs per annum is feasible in the current time. According to the data reported by glassdoor, organisations like IBM and TCS, Data privacy, and compliance professionals are earning a minimum of Rs 15 lacs per annum on average.

Aditya Narayan Mishra Director and CEO of CIEL HR Services has observed a rising trend. He is increasingly seeing IT professionals getting rid of traditional tech roles and getting placed in the data privacy, compliance domain.

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