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Motivating Cybersecurity Advocates: Implications for Recruitment and Retention



Julie M. Haney, Wayne Lutters


Given modern society’s dependence on technological infrastructure vulnerable to cyber-attacks, the need to expedite cybersecurity adoption is paramount. Cybersecurity advocates are critical for promoting, educating, and facilitating the uptake of security best practices. Therefore, successfully recruiting and retaining advocates is of utmost importance. Accomplishing this requires an understanding of advocates’ motivations and incentives and how these may differ from other cybersecurity professionals. As the first study of its kind, we interviewed 28 cybersecurity advocates to learn about their work motivations. Findings revealed several drivers for cybersecurity advocacy work, most of which were intrinsic motivators. Motivations included interest in the field, sense of duty, self-efficacy, evidence of impact, comradery, and, to a lesser degree, awards/monetary compensation. We leverage these insights for recommendations on how to frame cybersecurity advocacy as a profession that fuels these motivations and how to maintain this across advocates’ careers.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of the 2019 ACM SIGMIS Conference on Computer Personnel Research
Conference Dates
June 20-22, 2019
Conference Location
Nashville, TN
Conference Title
ACM SIGMIS Conference on Computer Personnel Research


cybersecurity, advocacy, motivations, recruitment, retention
Created June 20, 2019, Updated June 26, 2019