In Israel, cybersecurity workers earn most – survey

Experience in the field prized more than academic degree, Intel research shows

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Tech giant Intel's campus in Santa Clara, California.  
Tech giant Intel's campus in Santa Clara, California. (AFP PHOTO / KIMIHIRO HOSHINO)

In Israel, the cybersecurity industry is the most lucrative one to be in, Intel Corp. said in an eight-nation survey that also revealed an acute shortage of professionals that is driving up salaries in the sector.

Israeli cybersecurity experts earn almost 3.5 times more than the average annual salary in the local economy, as per data compiled by the OECD, and more than their counterparts in eight other countries studied by Intel’s researchers Vanson Bourne. The median cybersecurity salary reported in surveyed countries is at least 2.7 times the average wage, according to the OECD.

The research was conducted among information technology professionals in Israel, the US, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, the UK and Mexico.

The study also found that the industry is suffering from a lack of skilled workers. In Israel 80 percent of those interviewed reported a shortage of workers.

“There are no signs of the cybersecurity workforce shortage abating in the near term. Respondents estimate an average of 15% of cybersecurity positions in their company could go unfilled by 2020. Those in Japan and Mexico are most concerned about not meeting future cybersecurity demand,” the authors of the report said.

Organizations unable to maintain adequate cybersecurity staff have been targeted by hackers, the research showed, and one in four respondents say their organizations have lost proprietary data stemming from their cybersecurity skills gap.

Countries can change this shortfall in cybersecurity skills through increased government expenditure on education, promoting gaming and technology exercises, and promoting more cybersecurity programs in higher education, the researchers said.

Market estimates put the total annual global cybersecurity spending in a range of $75 billion to more than $100 billion in 2015 and project annual spending to increase between 7.4% and 16% over the next five years. The banking industry has taken a lead in increasing cybersecurity spending, reflecting its prominence as a target for hackers: banks are three times more likely to be targeted than non-financial institutions, the report said.

The study also revealed that experience in cybersecurity was more valued than an academic degree among the IT professionals surveyed.

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