Skip to Main Content Skip to bottom Skip to Chat, Email, Text

University of Phoenix Survey Finds That Despite an Increase in Cybercrime and a Growing Skills Gap, Most Americans Aren’t Interested in Cybersecurity Careers

By University of Phoenix

PHOENIX, Oct. 26, 2017 – In observance of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month,

University of Phoenix® has released the results of its third annual national cybersecurity survey. The survey found that nearly half (43 percent) of Americans have experienced a personal data breach in the past three years. As a result, 46 percent of Americans feel less secure from cyberattacks today than they did five years ago and 56 percent feel the country as a whole is less secure.

“Our nation has experienced a constant uptick in ransomware attacks[1], malware[2], and personal and business data breaches[3], yet 61 percent of U.S. adults agreed that technology is keeping up with the threat of cyberattacks,” said Dennis Bonilla, executive dean, University of Phoenix College of Information Systems & Technology and School of Business. “This inconsistency strongly suggests we need a greater sense of urgency to fill the workforce shortage. These jobs need trained professionals to run the technologies in which companies are investing. Without these professionals, it is akin to restaurants purchasing food, but not hiring chefs.”

Keeping pace with the growing number of cyber threats and the advancement of technology will require more cybersecurity professionals. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for trained cybersecurity professionals has grown nearly three times the national average between 2014 and 2024.[4] This gap is even more pronounced given a recent Gartner report showing that cybersecurity spending is expected to grow to nearly $100 billion in 2018 from $86 billion in 2017.[5] However, according to the survey, only 18 percent of respondents have any interest in a career in cybersecurity, and only 1 percent currently work in the field.

Although an overwhelming majority (90 percent) feel they would need more education to pursue a job in cybersecurity, respondents cited lack of time (52 percent), costs (51 percent) and lack of knowledge (40 percent) as the biggest barriers preventing them from pursuing a profession or education in cybersecurity.

Other survey findings include:

Most believe their workplace is prepared for a cyberattack

Seventeen percent of respondents say their business or employer has been the victim of a cybersecurity attack or breach, and 81 percent believe their employer is prepared for an attack. More than three-quarters are aware of their employer’s cybersecurity company policies, and 96 percent say they always or often follow them.

Trust in financial and healthcare sectors high; government low

Despite the financial[6] and healthcare[7] sectors being the two industries most frequently attacked by hackers in the past two years, many Americans place the most trust in these sectors. About seven in 10 U.S. adults place trust in healthcare (69 percent) and financial (68 percent) industries with their personal information ― but fewer than half trust the government (46 percent). The financial sector alone accounted for 65 percent more attacks than average organizations in 2016, with 200 million records compromised.[8]

Americans taking personal cybersecurity measures

Eighty-six percent of respondents say cybercrime has affected their online habits in some way, with 85 percent citing cybercrime as the reason. In practice, 61 percent say they ignore or delete suspicious emails, nearly half (49 percent) avoid clickbait and pop ups, and 43 percent don’t give up personal information online. However, only a little more than one-third limit use of devices on public Wi-Fi (36 percent) and update their passwords regularly (35 percent).

To access the full survey, visit

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of University of Phoenix between August 24–September 1, 2017 among 2012 US adults, including 944 who say they have experienced a personal data breach in the past 3 years. Figures for age, race/ethnicity, education, region, and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Cooper Nelson at

About College of Information Systems & Technology
University of Phoenix College of Information Systems & Technology is a leader and advocate for the development and advancement of IT in global business operations. The College offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. Its Faculty Advisory Council, composed of experts and leaders in the field, ensures curriculum is on pace with national and international market demands.  Providing innovative digital learning tools developed to suit all learning styles, the College focuses on building technical knowledge and its successful application to real-world business environments. For more information, visit

About University of Phoenix®
University of Phoenix is innovating to help working adults move efficiently from education to careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant and engaging courses, and interactive learning can help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world. For more information, visit