- The global cybersecurity workforce grew 8.7% to reach 5.5 million people in 2023, the highest number on record, according to the 2023 ISC2 Global Workforce Study.
- However, the industry still confronts a record gap of 4 million industry professionals — a total of 9.5 million qualified workers are necessary to adequately safeguard the world’s digital assets, according to the report.
- Three-quarters of industry professionals say the threat landscape is the most challenging they have seen in the last five years. Only 52% of professionals say their organization has enough tools and personnel to handle the level of cyber risk they expect over the next two to three years.
The report highlights a critical skills gap that has plagued the global cybersecurity industry for years. The industry has long been unable to find enough qualified professionals necessary to combat the rising level of digital threats critical industries, governments and private sector companies are up against.
Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and the rising use of cloud computing are making the skills gap even harder to fill, as many young professionals lack the skills to compete for those types of roles.
According to the report, the workforce gap has increased 13% above levels in 2022.
“If aspiring cyber professionals can demonstrate knowledge in those areas, they’d be in a better position to land a job in cybersecurity,” Clar Rosso, CEO of ISC2, said via email.
Employers are unwilling in many cases to hire entry-level and junior-level workers and also are reluctant to hire based on non-technical skills, however the latter trend is starting to change, Rosso said.
The White House launched a major effort to fill that workforce gap as part of its national cybersecurity strategy. The Biden administration has pushed efforts to increase cybersecurity training, especially for women and people of color, due to significant barriers to entry.
Economic uncertainty has played a major role in the workforce this year as well, as high inflation, a short term banking crisis and fears of a recession forced many cybersecurity firms to freeze new hires or even slash jobs.
Dragos in June said it would cut 9% of its workforce and slash other costs amid a slowdown in sales, while SentinelOne in August said it would cut 5% of its workforce.