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Australian Privacy Professionals Survey 2021

In 2019 we ran our first Australian Privacy Professionals Survey.

Time has flown and the privacy landscape has changed significantly, so now seems to be the right time for a new survey.

Given how new our industry is and how quickly it’s evolving we feel it’s important to take the temperature of the industry regularly to gain important insights that we can pass on to you.

From your responses to our new survey, we hope to gain insights about the makeup of the Australian privacy profession, the challenges faced by privacy practitioners and a better general understanding of privacy practice in Australia.

 What’s happening overseas?

Recent data coming out of the US suggests that the recalibration of leadership teams during the pandemic and the pandemic itself has resulted in greater focus on privacy in many businesses. TRU Staffing Partners Founder and CEO Jared Coseglia has said these trends have created the “highest demand for privacy professionals” he has ever seen. He envisages an explosion in requirements for mid-tier privacy professionals, such as program managers and privacy analysts in the next 6 months.

The US is seeing a huge demand for non-legal expertise in the privacy field and increasingly seeing the privacy role as “a dynamic and multi-disciplinary field, requiring broad knowledge and skills that range from compliance to IT to communications.”

Privacy profession in Australia

What about here in Australia? Has the pandemic had the effect of focussing attention on privacy amongst our business leaders? Are we moving away from a primarily legal viewpoint of privacy to a more cross-functional role in our organisations?

We also have legislative changes on the horizon with the Privacy Act Review discussion paper looking broadly at our Privacy Act and currently inviting submissions, along with the draft Online Privacy Bill in the consultation stage.

Now is a fantastic time to see how the industry is positioned in Australia after nearly 2 years of the pandemic and what the landscape might look like in the next 12 months.

What’s involved?

This survey is anonymous. We don’t ask for any personal details and won’t keep IP addresses or any other identifier that might automatically be collected. The survey contains up to 21 questions in total and shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to complete.

What kind of questions are we asking?

Our questions fall into the following categories:

  • About you
  • Organisational Privacy Practice
  • Privacy Team
  • Privacy Training
  • Vendor / Supplier Reviews
  • Technology
  • Final Comments

All but the Final Comments are multiple choice or checklist based and no questions ask for personal data.

What did we find out from our last survey?

The results from the last survey we carried out in 2019 included:

  • Most privacy practitioners are full time employees.
  • The most common size of privacy teams from our respondents was 2 – 5 people.
  • Privacy didn’t seem to have found a definite home in organisational structure with reporting lines being split between Compliance, Legal and to a lesser extent IT / Cyber Security.
  • Privacy practitioners spent most of their time liaising with business units, carrying out Privacy Impact Assessments and developing and implementing policies and procedures.
  • There were many challenges for privacy practitioners but the two biggest were:
    • Lack of clear responsibilities for privacy related activities in the organisation
    • Hiring and retaining qualified privacy personnel
  • Many felt they were under-resourced from a personnel standpoint.
  • Familiarity with or expertise in privacy legislation along with previous experience in a privacy program or project were the most prized skills when recruiting new team members.

To view the full results from our last survey click here.

We hope to gain similar insights and more from this survey. It will be interesting to see what has changed and what has stayed the same.

Results will be published as part of our ongoing Australian Privacy Jobs Analysis.

If you’d like access to our findings, please sign up for the Privacy 108 newsletter by following this link.  Or follow us on LinkedIn.

Thanks so much for your participation and your contribution to a better understanding of the Australian privacy landscape.

Take the Survey


At Privacy 108, we are passionate about privacy and data protection. We work with organisations to ensure they collect, use and secure all information in a way that is both compliant and meets community expectations. Privacy 108 is a law firm. Our team of lawyers can provide specialist legal advice on privacy and security issues.