A number of recent studies predict that 2016 will be another tough year on the cyber defense front, and adding to the woes is a continued lack of IT security talent.

According to a new study by IT security firm Cybrary, more than two-thirds of organizations say there is a global shortage of skilled cyber security professionals. Only 13 percent of companies said there was an abundance of cyber security talent in their local areas. Cybrary surveyed 435 senior level technology professionals for its annual Cyber Security Job Trends Survey for 2016.

“Companies and the public at large should be concerned with these data, which call attention to the continuing impact of the cyber security talent gap,” said Ryan Corey, co-founder of Cybrary.

“Companies with pressing cyber security needs are finding that there’s a major lack of qualified professionals to fill their positions, which makes them vulnerable to cyberattacks. This underscores the need for better access to cyber security training, which can get new talent into the field quickly, help close the cyber security skills gap, and make companies more secure,” Corey said.

The survey also revealed the challenges that many employers face in recruiting skilled cyber security employees, Corey said. More than 80 percent of respondents indicated that they always or sometimes have trouble recruiting skilled cyber security professionals.

The top reasons given were:

Lack of skilled cyber security talent in general (40 percent)

Lack of resources to properly find and attract talent (18 percent)

Location of talent (14 percent)

While 37 percent of companies recruit talent via their HR department, nearly 25 percent have not yet figured out the best way to recruit. What’s more, some positions can take nearly four months to fill.

“With respect to cyber security talent in their specific geographic area, most respondents indicated there is some talent, but it’s difficult to find,” Corey said.

In addition to talent and recruiting challenges, Corey said the survey confirmed several other trends around cyber security certifications, skills, and salary.

The most in demand cyber security certifications were Security+, Ethical Hacking, Network+, CISSP, and A+.

The most in demand skills were Ethical Hacking, Computer Forensics, CISSP, Malware Analysis, and Advanced Penetration Testing.

“Respondents indicated that all categories of cyber security jobs were important, with a slight emphasis on Network and Application Security, followed by GRC/Information Assurance and Malware and Threat and Intel,” Corey noted. Nearly 50 percent of respondents said their company had a chief security officer or chief information security officer.

In terms of salary, 50 percent of companies said their average cyber security professional earns $25,000-$50,000 per year; 21 percent said security pros earn $50,000-$75,000 per year; 17 percent said security workers make $75,000-$100,000 per year; and 12 percent said that their average cyber security worker makes more than $100,000 per year.

As to hiring plans for 2016, nearly half (47 percent) of respondents said that there company plans to hire more IT security pros next year.

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