Global cybersecurity industry faces a workforce gap of 3.12 million in 2020

Edward G. | December 15, 2020

More than half of the world's population is connected to the internet. Countless new companies pop up every day that use the power of the web to sell their goods and services.

In response, cybercrime is also at an all-time high, bringing the need for cybersecurity professionals. Unfortunately, the supply of skilled workers did not keep up with the demand.

The Atlas VPN team found that the global cybersecurity workforce gap hit 3.12 million in 2020, as stated in the (ISC) 2020 Global Workforce Study.

The study summed up all available job offers and subtracted estimates of new entrants to the workforce from academic and non-academic backgrounds to find the gap in the cybersecurity workforce.

The number of vacancies in internet security varies widely by region. Over 2.04 million job offers are available in the Asia-Pacific region, representing 66% of the total workforce shortage.

Second, the Latin America region has around 527,000 job offers unfilled, accounting for 17% of the worldwide workforce openings.

Next is North America, where over 376,000 jobs unfilled, at 12% of the total personnel shortage. Finally, Europe is also struggling to find cybersecurity professionals and needs 168,000 skilled workers to protect companies from various cyber threats.

The data reveals that it is necessary to incentivize people to take up cybersecurity as their career. Without sufficient security coverage, organizations run the risk of falling victim to cybercrime.

The biggest shortage is in the US

Let’s dissect the problem in more detail by analyzing which countries struggle most with information security worker vacancies.

Even though the biggest workforce gap is in the Asia-Pacific region, most job vacancies are in none other than the US, with more than 359,000 jobs available. Not only that, but the US employs most cybersecurity professionals in this list, at 879,157.

On the other side of the Rio Grande river, there is a need for 196,594 internet security professionals. Mexico also employs a significant number of online security experts, having 421,750 workers.

Brazil is another country with many information security workers employed, 626,650, but still struggles with filling all the vacancies, as it has 331,770 job offers available in 2020.

In the Land of the Rising Sun, Japan, employers are on the lookout for 92,466 cybersecurity experts. Japan already employs nearly a quarter-million security professionals.

To round things up, people who help companies defend against cyberattacks are in high demand, with the US being at the top of the list in terms of available jobs in the field.

Skills needed for cybersecurity candidates

It is clear that cybersecurity is a hot industry, but what allows one to transition successfully into this career? Of course, a security analyst has to have a general knowledge of computers, internal networks, and information systems. Still, there are three main areas which employers look at when hiring security talent:

  • Certifications: Great news is, most companies do not require computer science bachelors or similar degrees to consider candidates for a cybersecurity position. However, certificates are a necessity for most employers.

    The same study reveals that 70% of cybersecurity employees in the US are required to have certification. Worldwide, the necessity for certificates jumps to 78%. CISSP, CCNA Security, and CISSP with concentration, are the three most looked for certifications by employers.

  • Practical experience: Usually, merely having a certification will not be enough to get your foot in the door. Aspiring cybersecurity professionals should try to rack up the experience by working on open source projects or contributing to their current organization’s security.

  • Programming: a nightmare for some, but at least some programming and scripting knowledge is often a necessity. Python is one of the most common languages used by information security experts.

Edward G.

Edward G.

Cybersecurity Researcher and Publisher at Atlas VPN. My mission is to scan the ever-evolving cybercrime landscape to inform the public about the latest threats.



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