San Jose claims top spot for cybersecurity costs

According to a new study, San Jose in California tops US cities for cybersecurity hiring costs, averaging at over $300,000 a year – double that of El Paso in Texas.

San Jose is the most expensive place in the US to hire a cybersecurity professional, the study from PivIT Strategy found after analyzing 65 major metropolitan areas across the country.

San Francisco and Oakland, two other Bay Area cities, were close behind, with California overall accounting for seven spots in the top 10 most expensive cities for cybersecurity costs.

El Paso, Texas, is on the other end of the list, with companies able to hire an in-house cybersecurity expert for just under $149,000 a year on average.

Other Texan cities performed well in terms of cybersecurity costs, even though the state is more of a mixed bag when compared to California, with places like Austin and Dallas on the upper half of the list.

The list was compiled based on four metrics, namely salaries, the job market, the cost to hire, and the cost of living, the study said. Here are the five most expensive and five least expensive cities to hire a cybersecurity professional, with average total costs in brackets.


San Jose, CA ($305,660)

San Jose. Image by Shutterstock

Its proximity to Silicon Valley, a global technology and innovation hub, puts San Jose at the top of the list. The high demand for cybersecurity expertise in the tech industry combined with the high cost of living in the area is what drives up salaries for professionals in this field, according to the study.

San Francisco, CA ($256,990)

San Francisco. Image by Shutterstock

San Francisco’s status as the next-most expensive city to hire cybersecurity professionals is unsurprising. The city has high living costs, a competitive job market, and the constant need for robust cybersecurity measures.

Oakland, CA ($256,990)

Oakland. Image by Shutterstock

Despite its status as a cheaper alternative to San Francisco, it can be just as expensive to hire cybersecurity professionals in Oakland. The demand for cyber experts in the Bay Area extends to Oakland, the study said, making it a pricey place to employ people in the field.

New York, NY ($243,330)

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The only entry from the East Coast in the top five, New York is a global financial and business hub, with multinational corporations and government agencies competing for top cybersecurity talent, driving up the hiring costs.

Seattle, WA ($226,150)

Seattle. Image by Shutterstock

As the home to tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft, Seattle has a substantial demand for cybersecurity professionals, making it one of the priciest cities to hire an in-house expert, according to the study.


El Paso, TX ($148,710)

El Paso. Image by Shutterstuck

While the demand for cybersecurity professionals is present in El Paso, the cost of living is notably lower in the west Texan city than in larger tech and business hubs, making it a cost-effective option for companies seeking to bolster their cybersecurity teams, according to PivIT Strategy.

Lexington, KY ($152,710)

Lexington. Image by Shutterstock

Lexington, Kentucky’s second-biggest city, is another economical choice for cybersecurity hires thanks to a lower cost of living. The city’s affordability allows the companies to hire and retain talent more easily.

Las Vegas, NV ($152,760)

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The Sin City benefits from a lower cost of living driven in part by its reputation as a tourist destination, according to the study. This lets companies offer potential hires a more attractive salary package, even in a competitive market.

Omaha, NE ($154,100)

Omaha. Image by Shutterstock

The lower cost of living also translates into more competitive compensation packages for cybersecurity experts in Omaha, Nebraska.

Oklahoma City, OK ($154,490)

Oklahoma City. Image by Shutterstock

Lower cost of housing and other living expenses allows companies to offer competitive salaries to cybersecurity professionals in Oklahoma City without breaking the bank, the study said.

You can see the full list of 65 cities here.

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