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, according to the University of Phoenix third annual national cybersecurity survey. Yet few report interest in a cybersecurity career.

“Our nation has experienced a constant uptick in ransomware attacks, malware attacks, and personal and business data breaches, 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,”

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 20244.

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 20175. 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.

That finding may help explain why cybersecurity jobs are among the best paid in the IT field. It also unfortunately points to a continuing shortage of highly trained professionals in the field.

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 financial6 and healthcare7 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).