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New IAPP research reveals that an estimated 500,000 organisations have registered DPOs across Europe.

In 2017, IAPP estimated that the implementation of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) would need at least 75,000 data protection officers (DPOs) worldwide. However a new study by the IAPP found the initial estimate fell short.

IAPP stated:

“The new estimate, which indicates a half-million organizations already registered DPOs, combined with new data from IAPP’s latest salary survey, sheds light on the rapid growth of the privacy profession and the expanding role of the DPOs in Europe and beyond.”

The estimated 500,000 organisations that have registered DPOs across Europe include both private and public sector organisations. Despite the study not being able to identify approximate percentages of public versus private organisations, the findings suggest that a large amount of the organisations are public sector organisations. This is seen for instance in Ireland, public authorities submitted 18% of DPO registrations, whilst in Italy, the public sector accounts for 35% of registrations.

The study also compared the roles of DPOs in Europe to those of their foreign counterparts, and if the number of DPOs within Europe were similar to the number of privacy professionals in the United States. It was identified that that salary of a DPO from the US was much higher compared to a DPO in the EU. However the chief privacy officer title was far more common in the US than the DPO title.

“This raises the question: Has a gap emerged between the roles and responsibilities of U.S. and EU privacy officers? If so, might the GDPR’s requirement that the “data protection officer shall directly report to the highest management level” eventually help more EU privacy professionals rise to the C-suite over time?”

Andrea Jelinkek, European Data Protection Board Chair, stressed at the 2019 IAPP Global Privacy Summit:

“The importance of the DPO cannot be overestimated.”


European Data Protection Summit will take place on June 3rd in Central London and will play host to 800 DPO’s, Security Professionals and senior business decision makers looking for; information, updates, clarity, advice and solutions. For more information, visit the website.