Cybersecurity professionals face plenty of challenges in their work – there’s always something new to learn, cyber attackers are relentless and security teams are usually short-staffed. Still, nearly two-thirds of cybersecurity professionals (66%) say they are satisfied with their jobs.
But that number jumps to 72% among cybersecurity workers whose employers pay for their certifications, according to the 2019 (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study. For professionals whose organizations pay for only part or none of their certification costs, the number drops to 63%.
This is an important finding for employers who are trying to build their cybersecurity teams. Currently there is a shortage of 4 million cybersecurity professionals, according to our study, so organizations need to make investments not only in recruitment strategies to attract job applicants but also in career development for existing cybersecurity staff.
One investment sure to deliver results by driving up satisfaction levels is to pick up certification expenses, as the study suggests. Doing so increases the chances that current cybersecurity employees will remain with their organizations. When workers get the skills development they need from their employers, they are less likely to seek employment elsewhere.
Organizations also benefit from having better-equipped cybersecurity teams with the skills they need to build a robust security posture. Paying for certifications also increases the chances of attracting quality cybersecurity professionals who view certifications as critical to their success.
In addition to certifications, organizations should look closely at the compensation they’re offering when recruiting cybersecurity professionals. While cybersecurity workers aren’t primarily motivated by salary, offering competitive salaries certainly makes a difference in recruitment and hiring efforts. All things being equal, an applicant is more likely to take a job that pays a higher salary.
Globally on average, cybersecurity professionals earn $69,000 yearly, the study found. North American employers pay the highest salaries, at an average of $90,000, and the lowest (averaging $20,000) are in Latin America. The average in Asia-Pacific and Europe is $59,000 and $58,000, respectively.
Certifications have an effect on salary, according to the study. Professionals who hold cybersecurity certifications earn an average of $71,000 while those without certifications earn considerably less on average ($55,000).
Issues to Address
As a measure of their satisfaction levels, 84% of cybersecurity workers say they are where they expected to be in their careers. This is an especially reassuring finding for employers because it too reduces the chances of losing cybersecurity professionals to another company.
There are some challenges, however, that employers should address. For instance, 27% of respondents in the study say they lack resources to effectively do their jobs, and 24% say they are working with inadequate security budgets. These are issues that, in addition to certifications and compensation, can help drive satisfaction levels up if properly addressed.
In the meantime, employers can take heart that the balance is positive when it comes to job satisfaction levels among cybersecurity workers.