Shortage of cyber workers will solve itself, study says

By Sarah Halzack / The Washington Post

Published Jul 1, 2014 at 12:01AM

Talk to any recruiter in the D.C. region and they will tell you cybersecurity jobs are among the most difficult for them to fill. Workers with the right skills are relatively hard to come by, and in a labor market dominated by the federal government and its contractors, they are in especially high demand.

Companies, universities and government entities are all focused on finding ways to close the gap: Educational partnerships. Hackathon competitions. Internal corporate training programs. A regional task force.

Now, the Rand Corp. argues in a study released last week that this problem — which has prompted so much action — will solve itself.

Study authors Martin Libicki, David Senty and Julia Pollak examined existing studies on the cybersecurity workforce; interviewed government agencies, defense contractors and security firms; and looked at labor economics research to try to get a handle on the nature and scope of the cybersecurity worker shortage.

Based on that compendium of information, they predict that the high levels of compensation in this industry will be enough to lure more workers to its ranks. The report forecasts that cybersecurity pay will not dip below where it was in 2007, when a rash of high-profile Internet attacks made this field seem more essential.