5 Reasons For the Shortage of Cybersecurity Professionals

If your college-aged child is wondering what they should do for a living, here’s a great suggestion – cybersecurity. It might be the best way to keep them from moving back home after they earn their diploma. There simply aren’t enough professionals with the right skill sets to fill the number of open cybersecurity positions out there. This means super low unemployment and very competitive pay. Lack of supply and high demand is a worker’s best friend.

Some Shocking Numbers

Here’s an encouraging, and shocking, stat — in the U.S., the job market for cybersecurity professionals is growing 12 times faster than the overall job market. The bottom line is that there simply aren’t enough professionals who possess the right skill sets. It’s not that there aren’t enough people applying for cybersecurity jobs. It’s just that there aren’t enough who possess the right skill sets and experience.

Hiring the wrong professionals at a time when the threat landscape is expanding by leaps and bounds means being ill-prepared for attacks. And, of course, no organization can afford to be unprotected. You might get away with that in other positions — at least for a while — but you can’t afford it in cybersecurity. Poor skill sets and a lack of experience means poor protection from threats. Bad actors know there’s a lack of cybersecurity professionals. And fewer professionals manning the ship is great news for them.

The following are 5 key reasons that there aren’t enough cybersecurity professionals to keep organizations safe from today’s array of threats.

1. Large Salaries Lure Away Current Employees

Another reason for organizations’ inability to staff their IT department with qualified, experienced cyber professionals is that these positions can command a large salary. If an existing employee has earned the skills and certifications to work in cybersecurity, they’re ripe for the picking by other companies. If an employee has increased their salary by 10% due to their cybersecurity studies and certification(s), they may easily command an increase of over 50% on the open market.  

2. Remote Work

One of the reasons for the precipitous growth in threats is due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The switch to remote work opened up a spate of attack vectors that organizations weren’t prepared to address. Or, at least, address as fast as was needed.

The rise of remote work also meant that accessing adequate cybersecurity training was harder. There was plenty of external training out there, but it became cluttered with players who did little more than collect money and provide little else.

But it was more than external training. Remote work meant hands-on experience was harder to come by. Learning from experienced, certified professionals on staff became more difficult.

3. The Proliferation of Cybersecurity Tools

Several research studies have found that organizations use anywhere from 20 tools for small companies to over 100 different security tools for large enterprises. Those are astounding numbers. Finding the right person may prove close to impossible if they are supposed to know all, or most, of them.  

4. Burnout

The dramatic increase in threats combined with a shortage of cybersecurity professionals means those combating threats are carrying a heavy workload. Burnout can lead to resignations, another issue the pandemic helped create — the great resignation. In 2021, the resignation rate was the highest it had been in over two decades. According to several studies, from 25% to 35% said their resignation was due to working too many hours; another way of saying burnout. People considering cybersecurity as a profession may get dissuaded if they hear that burnout is a real possibility.

5. There Aren’t Enough Women in Cybersecurity

The lack of women in technology continues to be an issue. More women in the technology sector would be a great way to fill the gap in qualified cybersecurity professionals. It’s shocking that only 25% of those in technology are women.

According to a 2021 Microsoft survey about women in cybersecurity, twice as many female respondents felt women were less qualified for cybersecurity jobs than their male counterparts. This is the more telling, even shocking, find — far more women felt that men were a better fit for technology positions.

The Skills Gap May Get Worse

According to an independent study of over 1,000 cybersecurity professionals, over a third plan on leaving their field in the next few years. That gap in professionals with the right certifications, experience and skill sets may get wider. The same study found that almost 90% of respondents said that the shortage of cybersecurity professionals is currently affecting their ability to secure their networks and infrastructures.

If you’re interested in working for one of the world’s leading cybersecurity companies, check out Radware’s Career Page.

Richard Arneson

Richard Arneson is a 30-year marketing and sales professional in the high tech and telecom sectors. For the past decade, Richard has focused on his passion - creating engaging, informative and entertaining written content about the wondrous, amazing world of technology.

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