Over half of cyber workers considering leaving sector, report finds

A report by industry analyst Cobalt has found that over half of cybersecurity professionals surveyed are thinking of leaving the industry due to burnout.

Cobalt found that many cyber workers are struggling to manage their increasing workload, which is leading many professionals to consider leaving the industry to avoid suffering from burnout and high stress levels.

Up to 54% of the professionals said they were thinking of leaving the industry, while six in ten reported burnout and mental health problems as key factors. Two-thirds of employees also claimed that the stresses of their role caused them to suffer from physical health problems.

In a key worrying finding, nearly all of the 600 workers who were surveyed by Cobalt said they were struggling to bring in new staff, with two-thirds highlighting that they were unable to maintain effective cybersecurity overall, while eight in ten could not consistently monitor their defences for vulnerabilities.

Cobalt said, “Talent shortages have a tangible impact on security programs. As colleagues leave and roles stay open, teams are struggling to maintain security standards, particularly around compliance and supporting secure development. Vulnerabilities are more likely to slip past undetected, and teams are concerned they’re not ready to respond to an attack. Their biggest concerns are social engineering and third-party software exposure.”

Cobalt discovered that on average, it took firms up to two weeks to fix a cyber vulnerability. When it went deeper into the data, it found that smaller companies – those employing fifty or less – were the quickest to deal with security challenges, while the largest businesses took the longest at around three weeks on average.

The company remarked, “Our assumptions are that smaller companies might be nimbler, with smaller attack surfaces and fewer processes to follow. They are often born in the cloud, practice agile processes, and smaller teams face greater scrutiny and individual accountability than their enterprise [big company] counterparts.”

Cobalt also warned that the rut being experienced by cybersecurity professionals could leave companies exposed to highly significant breaches, amplifying the cracks already showing.

The firm added, “To address systemic burnout, organisations should take stock of their go-to-market priorities [and balance these] against employees’ capacity. They must take a hard look at what is causing burnout and disillusionment, and make changes that put their people first.”

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