Is there ageism in cybersecurity? Experts weigh in.


I have been in this industry for several years, and a topic that keeps coming up is ageism. It’s no secret that the field of cybersecurity is one of the most challenging and dynamic industries. With constant changes in technologies and threats, companies must remain vigilant and proactive in their defense. However, many individuals, especially those over a certain age, face challenges in this field that they believe are caused by their age. This has raised a lot of questions: Is there ageism in cybersecurity? Are experienced cybersecurity professionals being overlooked because of their age?

In this article, we will investigate these questions and get expert opinions on the matter. I assure you, it will be a thought-provoking and eye-opening discussion that you should not miss. Let’s dive in!

Is there ageism in cybersecurity?

Ageism is undeniably a problem in the cybersecurity industry, as it is in many other fields. This type of discrimination against people who are perceived to be “too old” is a challenge that has been addressed much less frequently than other diversity issues, like gender and race. Given the fast pace at which cybersecurity evolves, many companies think that hiring and retaining young people is the only way to keep up. But this belief overlooks the benefits that older professionals bring to the table, such as experience, knowledge and wisdom. Here are a few reasons why ageism may be an issue in cybersecurity:

  • Stereotypes: ageist stereotypes could be prevailing in some industries, such as the idea that older employees are not tech-savvy or have outdated skills.
  • Biases: recruiters and employers could harbor unconscious biases against older candidates, such as the belief that they are not flexible enough to adapt to new technologies or that they may be too slow or inflexible.
  • Unfair practices: some companies may have policies that target older employees, such as mandatory retirement age or reduced opportunities for training and advancement.
  • To overcome ageism in cybersecurity, it’s crucial for organizations to recognize the value of diverse teams and to make a genuine effort to hire and retain professionals of all ages. This includes creating equal opportunities for training and professional development, offering flexible work arrangements to accommodate different needs and lifestyles, and challenging stereotypes and biases whenever they arise. By focusing on skills and experience instead of age, cybersecurity can become a more inclusive and effective field, with a larger pool of qualified professionals to help fill the significant skills gap.

    ???? Pro Tips:

    1. Stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and technologies to showcase that age is just a number when it comes to cybersecurity expertise.
    2. Emphasize your experience, skills and achievements in your resume and during interviews to demonstrate the value you offer regardless of your age.
    3. Network with other cybersecurity professionals, both young and old, to stay informed of new opportunities and gain insights into potential biases in the industry.
    4. Consider pursuing additional cybersecurity certifications or training programs to reinforce your knowledge and expertise, and to demonstrate your willingness to continually learn and grow within the field.
    5. Stay positive and focused on your goals, despite any feelings of discouragement or doubt that may arise due to age-related biases in the industry. Remember that with hard work, dedication, and a strong sense of purpose, success in cybersecurity is achievable for anyone!

    Is there ageism in cybersecurity?

    Cybersecurity has become one of the most important industries in the world, as cyber threats and attacks continue to escalate rapidly. Cyber professionals are in high demand with lucrative salaries, and a critical shortage of skilled cybersecurity experts continues to persist. While diversity issues, especially gender inequality, have taken the center stage in the cybersecurity industry, ageism is another issue that remains largely unaddressed. In this article, we explore the impact of ageism on cybersecurity and the strategies to support and empower experienced cyber professionals.

    Experience and expertise are not limited by age

    It is often assumed that younger people are more tech-savvy than older generations, and therefore more suited for the cybersecurity profession. However, this assumption could not be further from the truth. The experience and expertise of a cybersecurity professional are not limited by age. In fact, seasoned professionals can bring knowledge, wisdom, and a valuable skill set to the industry that younger employees may not possess. Moreover, age diversity in the cybersecurity workforce can bring different perspectives, foster innovation, and result in a more balanced and productive workplace.

  • Experienced cyber professionals can bring a depth and breadth of technical knowledge and expertise that only comes with long-term experience in the field.
  • They can help mentor and train younger professionals, passing down hard-earned wisdom and sharing best practices.
  • They have proven abilities to manage complex projects, problem-solve under pressure, and to think strategically and critically.
  • Their experience in business and industry can also be a valuable asset in the field, helping to align cybersecurity objectives in a way that reinforces organizational goals and business strategies.

    The notion that younger people are better with technology is a myth

    Another widespread myth in the tech industry is the assumption that younger people are better with technology. The idea that the young, tech-savvy workforce is the only viable option for cybersecurity roles is a common misconception that leads to ageism in the industry. However, younger generations do not necessarily have a natural talent for technology. It is true that younger people may have grown up with certain technologies, but experience and training are the most important factors in developing cybersecurity expertise.

  • The idea that younger users inherently possess the skills to navigate technology and are more agile or intuitive with technology is baseless. In fact, older professionals have been using technology for as long as it’s existed and likely have more experience adapting to new technology than younger people.
  • Some cybersecurity roles, such as senior leadership roles, require significant experience in order to oversee complex systems and teams of people which is something that experience offers.
  • In reality, a balance between younger and older professionals can be beneficial. Younger employees can bring fresh perspectives, knowledge of the latest technologies, and innovative ideas, and the older employees can mentor and train them while providing context and experience.

    The danger of overlooking seasoned professionals

    A key danger of ageism in cybersecurity is the risk of overlooking seasoned professionals who bring vital experience and expertise to the industry. This overlook can have a severe impact, not just on the individuals themselves but also on the organization that could miss out on their skills. A lack of experience and knowledge can result in security breaches that could have been avoided if an experienced professional had been involved.

    Moreover, the industry’s focus on younger talent can also lead to a dearth of qualified leaders. Senior positions require years of experience and the development of soft skills such as project management, communication and leadership, which many younger employees lack.

    Age discrimination and its impact on the cybersecurity industry

    Age discrimination can have a significant impact on the cybersecurity industry, contributing to the skills gap that exists today.

  • Experienced cybersecurity professionals may leave the workforce early, feeling unvalued and frustrated.
  • The workforce may become unbalanced, with a proliferation of younger employees and a lack of experienced professionals. This could lead to a range of problems, including security breaches and missed opportunities for innovation.
  • The industry may suffer as a result of the limited pool of qualified leaders, leading to a lack of effective organizational management.

    Bridging the gap between generations in the workforce

    Bridging the gap between generations in the workforce is crucial to address ageism in the cybersecurity industry. Some strategies that organizations can adopt are:

  • Define and communicate the benefits of hiring more experienced professionals. Emphasize not only their expertise and knowledge but also their ability to mentor and train younger generations of employees.
  • Provide cross-generational training programs that offer learning and development opportunities for all employees.
  • Encourage mentoring relationships across seniority levels to allow for the development of mentorship-oriented cybersecurity roles.
  • Offer flexible work options to retain older professionals who may be considering retiring or leaving the workforce.
  • Ensure leadership models are one of inclusion that does not discriminate and puts values found in diversity.

    The negative consequences of perpetuating ageist attitudes

    Perpetuating ageist attitudes toward experienced professionals in the cybersecurity industry can lead to significant negative consequences for the industry:

  • A loss of productivity due to a lack of experience and expertise in the cybersecurity field.
  • Cybersecurity breaches, which can result in significant financial and reputational damage to the organization.
  • The inability to fill vital leadership positions within the organization, which can lead to missed opportunities and lower workforce morale.

    Strategies to support and empower experienced cyber professionals

    Organizations can adopt strategies to support and empower experienced cyber professionals that can lead to improved results and help the industry bridge the skills gap.

  • Ensure that opportunities for training and development are available to all employees, including older workers.
  • Encourage mentorship relationships to facilitate cross-generational knowledge transfer.
  • Offer flexible work arrangements that allow older professionals to work more flexible hours or partially retire before moving away from the workforce altogether.
  • Create a culture of inclusivity and respect for all employees, regardless of age.
  • Make a conscious effort to recognize and celebrate the contributions of more experienced professionals in the workplace, including team leadership, public recognition, and advancement opportunities.


    Ageism in cybersecurity is a widespread issue that has been largely ignored over the years, despite its significant impact on the industry. Organizations can take advantage of a wealth of experience and expertise by fostering inclusion, mentoring relationships, and offering training and development opportunities to all employees, regardless of age. By bridging the gap between generations, organizations can create a stronger, more robust cybersecurity workforce that’s better equipped to address the challenges of today’s cybersecurity risks. Remember, age is just a number, but experience is priceless.