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Cybersecurity wages stagnate as threats increase

A study by has revealed most cybersecurity staff are not seeing their wages increase.

Daniel Richardson

cybersecurity wages
Credit: @natabene via Twenty20

Unleash Your Curiosity Why have cybersecurity professionals seen their wages stay the same while their importance has sharply increased?

  • 55% of remote workers have experienced a cybersecurity incident over the last year.
  • The Colonial Pipeline attack in the United States showed how important security skills are.
  • Why aren’t the salaries of cybersecurity experts increasing?

In the wake of the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack, the US has had a renewed focus on its cybersecurity measures. This has been illustrated by Microsoft and Google’s efforts to showcase how they can improve security for the American government at a recent White House meeting. On the back of this, billions have been invested by global companies to better their security as ongoing threats loom.

This is an area that is becoming crucial in the digital world and skills in this field have never been in more demand. Leading global economist Mark Blyth recently told UNLEASH that, “I have it on good authority that the big guns [of cybersecurity and government] are being brought out, so I’ll be interested to see how this [security threats] plays out.”

Additionally, a survey by US telecoms giant AT&T found that 55% of remote workers have experienced a cybersecurity incident in the last year. This alarming figure has been attributed to the pandemic and the rise in remote working.

Sean Wright, application security lead at software company Immersive Labs, explained to UNLEASH “Employees can no longer simply go over to the security department and ask them if the email is legitimate, or even ask the proposed sender. In addition, as we saw at the beginning of the pandemic, there were several issues around telecommunication. This could become a rather big issue, especially when sensitive corporate-related conversations are taking place.”

Cybersecurity salaries

The importance of cybersecurity is clear, particularly during the pandemic, but it seems that those who are undertaking jobs in this sector are not seeing their wages increase alongside increasing emphasis on their skilled work.

In fact, 67% of cybersecurity professionals that were surveyed by Harvey Nash claimed that they did not receive a pay rise in the last 12 months.

Moreover, the survey, which was filled out by 6000 technologists across the globe, found that those in cybersecurity had lower rates of pay rises than other technology professionals.

Interestingly, in the technology sector, the three roles that were most likely to get a pay increase were development management/team leadership (59%), design/UX/UI (50%), and quality assurance (50%).

Bev White, chief executive, Harvey Nash Group commented:

Technology roles are hugely important and deserve to be well paid. In today’s environment where cyber threats are ever-present, security roles, in particular, are critical to the success of organizations and should be properly remunerated.”

Despite acknowledging this, White added that the renewed importance of cybersecurity “doesn’t seem to have translated into pay rises for the majority of cyber professionals.”

White concluded “While one can see the rationale behind this, it is vital that organizations don’t score an own goal by under-rewarding their cyber teams – and then facing an exodus of talent looking for better remuneration elsewhere. There is a balance to be achieved, but the signs are that the reward strategies of many businesses have perhaps tipped too far in one direction.”

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