More and more security professionals consider a career switch. Simultaneously, nearly half of all Dutch IT service providers are short on manpower. The trends are evident from separate reports by Deep Instinct and Rabobank.

Security firm Deep Instinct spoke with 1,000 senior security professionals at major European firms. Nearly half recently considered a career switch due to stress. At the same time, roughly 45 percent of all Dutch IT service providers struggle with labour shortages, as unveiled by a Rabobank study.

Stress and security

According to Deep Instinct, the stress among security professionals is partly due to the increase in ransomware and supply chain attacks. A single mistake can have gigantic consequences. That responsibility weighs heavily on the shoulders of security staff. More than 90 percent say they work under stress. Many feel that the pressure affects the quality of their work.

Managers are particularly sensitive to the problem. One in three CISOs, CTOs and ITOs described themselves as ‘very stressed’. They’ve been struggling with new responsibilities ever since COVID-19 made its mark. Many organizations moved their staff to home offices. The secure perimeter of corporate networks gave way to new systems. Some IT organizations gained more customers and larger projects. In the workplace, burnout and fatigue increased.

Labour shortages

The problem isn’t limited to the security industry. A recent survey by Rabobank shows that roughly 45 percent of all Dutch IT service providers are short of manpower. “Educators aren’t delivering enough young talent to fill positions”, said Mark van Kampen, sector manager ICT Services at Rabobank. “Graduates are particularly hard to find. Think of developers, system administrators and security specialists.”

Van Kampen suggests two ways of dealing with the shortage. First of all, standardizing services can be beneficial. Although a flexible service has advantages, it’s far from efficient. Standard processes are easier to automate. CTS IT, a Dutch MSP, successfully applies the strategy. The company manages to compensate for shortages by automating.

“We use PowerBI dashboards that provide real-time insight into the entire business”, CEO Hannes de Paauw told Rabobank. “A good example is the on- and off-boarding of employees. Based on our reports, we have managed to largely automate the process.”

Secondly, it can help to pay more attention to HR. Tim van der Hulst, HR manager of IT service provider OGD, regularly asks employees what they need to make their work more enjoyable. If an employee decides to leave, OGD makes sure to emphasize that he or she remains welcome at a later time.

Uncertainty

Rabobank expects the problem to persist for some time. In the past six months, shortages grew by almost 15 percent. There’s no end in sight.

Tip: Security industry is fundamentally broken: base investments on hard evidence