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Privacy Perspectives | Celebrating Data Privacy Day with 'optimism,' 'conviction' Related reading: The origins and purpose of Data Protection/Privacy Day

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Sixty-eight percent of the titles on LinkedIn's Jobs on the Rise list didn't exist 20 years ago. While that's a mind-blowing stat, it's not a surprise for many of us in the privacy community as we are some of the first to have the word "privacy" in our job title. In the span of just 20-plus years, an entire profession of lawyers, project managers, engineers and product managers dedicated to privacy has emerged, as well as a smattering of privacy forward startups and companies. With the rise of artificial intelligence and the continuing growth of data driven industries, the demand for privacy professionals and privacy-focused companies will only continue.

Since the EU General Data Protection Regulation passed in 2018, LinkedIn has seen a surge in privacy forward startups and job postings: Privacy engineers, data management engineers, privacy program managers, privacy lawyers and privacy ethicists. In the last five years, the number of LinkedIn members globally with the title chief privacy officer increased around 35%, privacy engineer job titles grew by 40% and LinkedIn members who identified GDPR as a skill grew over 30%.

This talent pool is strong, but currently small, and for that reason is in extremely high demand, with a median tenure at a company of just 1.2 years. And similar to other industries, including green talent, privacy jobs are subject to a gender gap — 67% men compared to 33% women — which is quite a shift from 20-plus years ago when many professionals were covering privacy as an add-on to their primary job.

All of this frames my optimism-with-conviction for 2024 and beyond. As privacy professionals celebrate Data Privacy Day, keep in mind that as generative AI and other new technologies emerge, there will be an even greater need for professionals specializing in privacy engineering, privacy law, privacy product management, data management and privacy ethics. Just as GDPR sparked new careers in privacy, I strongly believe the emergence and responsible growth of AI will do the same.  

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