4 million more cybersec pros needed to meet skills shortage

News by SC Staff

In the UK, the current cyber-security workforce estimate is 289,000, with 121,000 in France and 133,000 in Germany. The shortage of skilled professionals across EMEA has grown to 291,000.

According to the ISC(2)’s newly published 2019 (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, the cybersecurity workforce needs to increase by 145 percent globally from its current cadre of 2.8 million professionals - that's more than four million extra people required.

In the UK, the current cyber-security workforce estimate is 289,000, with 121,000 in France and 133,000 in Germany. The shortage of skilled professionals across EMEA has grown to 291,000.

"We’ve been evolving our research approach for 15 years to get to this point today, where we can confidently estimate the current workforce and better understand what it will take as an industry to add enough professionals to protect our critical assets," said Wesley Simpson, chief operating officer, (ISC)2. "Perhaps more importantly, the study provides actionable insights and strategies for building and growing strong cybersecurity teams. Knowing where we stand and the delta that needs to be filled is a powerful step along the pathway to overcoming our industry’s staffing challenges."

Among the key findings from the study:

  • 65 percent of organisations report a shortage of cyber-security staff; a lack of skilled/experienced cyber-security personnel is the top job concern among respondents (36 percent)

  • Two-thirds (66 percent) of respondents report that they are either somewhat satisfied (37 percent) or very satisfied (29 percent) in their jobs; and 65 percent intend to work in cyber-security for their entire careers

  • 30 percent of survey respondents are women; 23 percent of whom have security-specific job titles

  • 37 percent are below the age of 35, and five percent are categorised as Generation Z, under 25 years old

  • 62 percent of large organisations with more than 500 employees have a CISO; that number drops to 50 percent among smaller organizations

  • 48 percent of organisations represented say their security training budgets will increase within the next year

  • The average North American salary for cyber-security professionals is US$ 90,000 (£70,000); those holding security certifications have an average salary of US$ 93,000 (£72,500) while those without earn US$76,500 (£59,600) on average

  • 59 percent of cyber-security professionals are currently pursuing a new security certification or plan to do so within the next year

  • Just 42 percent of respondents indicate that they started their careers in cyber-security; meaning 58 percent moved into the field from other disciplines

  • Top recruiting sources outside of the core cybersecurity talent pool include new university graduates (28 percent), consultants/contractors (27 percent), other departments within an organisation (26 percent), security/hardware vendors (25 percent) and career changers (24 percent)

In comments to SC Media UK Jane Frankland, CEO of Cyber Security Capital, highlighted the role women might play in closing this skills gap, saying:  "With record talent shortages around the world in security clearly increasing, and more competition for top talent than ever before, it's no longer simply a question of simply finding talent. We have to build it. …. the talent is there, particularly when it comes to female talent. But, what’s lacking is the ability to attract it, develop it, and retain it. We need a new approach to how we do this, as it’s not going to fix itself. It’s time to accelerate our efforts to up-skill, re-skill, communicate what security is all about, and truly lead.

The report itself outlined four main strategies to build cyber-security teams:

(1) highlighting training and professional development opportunities that contribute to career advancement, 

(2) proper level setting on applicant qualifications to make sure the net is cast as wide as possible for undiscovered talent, 

(3) attracting new workers such as recent college graduates who have tangential degrees to cyber-security, or seasoned pros such as consultants and contractors into full-time roles, and 

(4) strengthening from within by further developing and cross-training existing IT professionals with transferrable skills.

The study is based on online survey data from 3,237 individuals responsible for security/cybersecurity throughout North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific. 

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