Stress is driving cybersecurity experts away from the industry

Mature man using laptop in a cafe, looking annoyed
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Nearly half (42%) of cybersecurity decision-makers are considering leaving their role within the next two years due to stress or burnout, new research has found.

According to findings from Mimecast, stress may already be having a tangible impact on some IT teams; one-third of the teams looked at experienced an increased number of absences due to burnout following an attack.

In particular, ransomware attacks were singled out as a key issue, with nearly two-thirds (61%) of respondents said that ransomware attacks have had a negative impact on their mental health.

What's breaking employees?

In fact, nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents said they have experienced at least one ransomware attack in the past year, rising to 75% for businesses in the U.A.E according to the research. 

Two-fifths (40%) of organizations also reportedly experienced significant downtime because of ransomware attacks – although this figure varies widely from 27% in the Nordics to 49% in the U.K.

But that's not all, 58% of cybersecurity professionals surveyed say that their role gets more stressful every year.

These results shouldn't really come as that much of a surprise, 2021 was a bumper year for ransomware, as criminals looked to take advantage of some of the endpoints opened up by hybrid working.

A presumably very stressful ransomware attack brought a major US gas pipeline -The Colonial Pipeline - to a standstill in May 2021, leading to a regional emergency declaration in 17 states.

Worryingly, there may be no guarantee that there will be enough new entrants to the industry to replace burned-out career changers. 

(ISC)2's 2022 Cybersecurity Workforce Study found that the workforce gap in the cybersecurity industry has grown by over a quarter (26.2%) year-on-year as demand outstrips supply.

Will McCurdy has been writing about technology for over five years. He has a wide range of specialities including cybersecurity, fintech, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, cloud computing, payments, artificial intelligence, retail technology, and venture capital investment. He has previously written for AltFi, FStech, Retail Systems, and National Technology News and is an experienced podcast and webinar host, as well as an avid long-form feature writer.