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Data protection officers (m/w/d)

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Data protection officers: protecting data and ensuring compliance with data protection regulations

Many companies are required to employ a data protection officer, whose tasks include the analysis, evaluation and optimisation of the business processes regarding IT security and data protection. Besides, data protection officers are responsible for ensuring compliance with the related requirements, which are implemented by the management board and the involved departments.

Which opportunities do data protection officers have on the labour market?

The data protection requirements according to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have been in force since May 2018, delivering new standards for the processing of personal data according to the German Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG) – both for the public sector and private companies. Consequently, companies need an increasing number of appropriately qualified employees, who acquire their expertise as data protection officers through a specific training. As there is a lack of data protection experts and the relevance of this topic is increasingly growing in all areas, data protection officers have very good prospects on the labour market. All companies processing personal data – be it in the HR or marketing area – need to ensure compliance with the legal data protection regulations. In small and medium-sized companies, in particular, this job is often performed by generalists who have acquired the necessary skills via an additional qualification.

What are the tasks and responsibilities of data protection officers?

According to the GDPR, companies are obliged to adapt their declarations of consent and privacy statements; there are now stricter regulations and new reporting obligations in case of data breaches. The infringement of the data protection provisions may lead to claims for damages, penalties or image loss. Thus, data protection officers have great responsibility.

  • Monitoring of compliance with the data protection regulations within the entire company
  • Analysis of business processes and IT security related to the processing of personal data
  • Preparation of expert reports, verification of contracts with service providers and definition of corporate guidelines
  • Communication with authorities and provision of information about data protection

Which hard skills and soft skills should data protection officers have?

Data protection officers must possess relevant practical skills and be familiar with current laws, judgements and regulations. Both law and IT experts with an appropriate additional qualification and properly trained persons from other professional groups may work as data protection officers. Furthermore, data protection officers need to have strong social skills as communication forms a major part of their job.

  • An appropriate qualification, knowledge of the current regulations and implementation skills
  • Examination and consulting skills
  • The ability to explain legal matters in an understandable way
  • The willingness to solve problems as well as team spirit and assertiveness

What is the average salary of data protection officers?

On average, data protection officers earn EUR 33,000 annually. While the starting salary is about EUR 24,000 per year, data protection officers who have long-term professional experience and work at large companies may earn up to EUR 60,000. External freelance data protection officers, by contrast, earn about EUR 120 per hour.

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