On top of a shortage of skilled talent, the disparity between the salaries on offer at Silicon Valley tech giants and smaller, less cash-flush companies is seen as a major reason why many organizations are having a hard time filling IT roles, as well as a driver of corporate inequality. But private companies are not the only ones losing out in the competition with big tech for scarce talent; the US government is also having trouble attracting tech workers, particularly in the critical area of cybersecurity.
This problem is not limited to government: A 2015 CareerBuilder study found that roughly 70 percent of job openings in IT are going unfilled, and in cybersecurity, that figure is at 89 percent. But the problem is exacerbated by government employers’ smaller budgets, less desirable locations, and poor reputations for culture. This is particularly troubling because of the upward trajectory of cybersecurity problems reported by federal agencies. According to the Office of Management and Budget, over 30,000 “cyber incidents” were reported at federal agencies in the 2016 fiscal year.
The main reason the federal government has trouble filling cybersecurity roles is that it doesn’t pay nearly as much as private companies do, a recent report from The Wall Street Journal points out. Private sector pay for chief information security officers ranges from $137,000 to $346,000 per year with a median of $224,000. By comparison, the recent White House posting for the role of Federal Chief Information Security Officer listed a range going up to just $185,100. Matt Comyns, a managing partner of executive search firm Caldwell Partners, told the Journal that the high end of private sector roles are paying up to $2 million total and that CISOs in government who move to private companies have come close to quintupling their compensation packages.
In a statement issued on Twitter Wednesday morning, US President Donald Trump announced that transgender Americans would no longer be allowed to serve in the armed forces “in any capacity”, ostensibly reversing a landmark decision by the Defense Department last year to overturn its longstanding ban on openly transgender service members. While the precise impact of the president’s statement is not yet clear—tweets do not constitute an official change in policy, no ban has been formally implemented, and any attempt to do so will likely face numerous legal challenges—it quickly sparked outrage among transgender Americans, including the estimated 15,000 currently serving in the military, as well as LGBT anti-discrimination advocates.
A number of high-profile CEOs were among the many public figures to voice opposition to the decision on Wednesday, Jena McGregor reported at the Washington Post:
First out of the gate on Twitter appeared to be Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who expressed his gratitude for transgender members who serve. Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, wrote that “discrimination in any form is wrong for all of us,” and Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote that “we are indebted to all who serve. Discrimination against anyone holds everyone back.”
Both Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s CEO and chief operating officer, expressed their support and gratitude, as did Airbnb’s Brian Chesky and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, a frequently outspoken advocate on gay rights issues who led many CEOs to speak out on legislation in Indiana while Vice President Mike Pence was governor, as well as in other states, such as North Carolina.
BuzzFeed and TechCrunch rounded up reactions on social media from various tech companies and their leaders, which also included other household names like Microsoft, Intel, Uber, Tumblr, and Reddit.