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Cybersecurity survey reveals worrying gender gap

cybersecurity

Exabeam, the Smarter SIEM company, has released the Exabeam 2019 Cybersecurity Professionals Salary, Skills and Stress Survey, based on a global survey of 479 security professionals completed in September 2019. The purpose was to gain insight on trends in the salaries of security professionals, as well as education levels, job satisfaction and attitudes toward innovative and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Among the security analysts surveyed in the United States, UK, Canada, India, Australia and the Netherlands, overall, 91% of respondents of the survey were male – up from 90% in 2018 – representing a persistent gender disparity in cybersecurity. Further, a wide racial disparity was uncovered, with African-Americans represented by less than 3% of respondents to the survey. Of the total number of respondents, the majority, or 65%, identified as Caucasian. People of Asian descent made up just 13% of respondents, while even fewer (9%) were Latino/Hispanic.

“The lack of diversity in this survey is a microcosm of the wider problem plaguing the cybersecurity industry,” said Trevor Daughney, VP, Product Marketing at Exabeam. “When we consider the continuous threats and external adversaries that cyber professionals face, we understand that fighting them often requires a multidisciplinary approach. Building a diverse team of people creates a more holistic view of the problem and delivers a range of valuable problem-solving skills. In that way, diversity truly improves the overall outcomes of the team.”

On a positive note, jobs in the security sector have staying power since nearly half (41%) of professionals surveyed have been building a career in the industry for ten years or more. 71% say they are satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs and responsibilities, which is a downturn from 2018, when 83% of respondents reported their satisfaction. 76% feel secure or very secure in their current role. Somewhat unsurprising was that 78% of participants said they would recommend a career in cybersecurity.

Unchanged from 2018 were median salaries, which averaged between US$75,000-US$100,000 and about half, or 53% of respondents, reported satisfaction with their salary, an increase from 35% last year. Interestingly, 58% reported that a challenging work environment was the most rewarding aspect of their job, while lack of advancement opportunities was the least rewarding.

Survey participants also indicated that they struggle with cybersecurity burnout and fatigue. These unfortunate realities of the role are being exacerbated by a skills shortage and an unrelenting barrage of advanced cyberthreats. 62% of professionals in the sector cited their jobs are stressful or very stressful, and 44% don’t feel they are achieving a work-life balance. Further, while a minority of respondents (40%) were actively looking for a new job, more than half (51%) said their reasons for doing so were poor compensation and unsupportive senior leadership.

Daughney continued: “One obvious strength of the security space is the plentiful opportunities to take risks and innovate. However, if employees are stressed, don’t feel supported by executive leadership, or don’t enjoy balance in their lives, it’s difficult to achieve their full potential. Therefore, companies must focus on inclusion and building productive environments where teams can deliver exceptional work.”

To learn more and read the full results of the survey, please visit: https://www.exabeam.com/library/2019-cybersecurity-professionals-salary-skills-and-stress-survey.