Level of Unfilled Cyber Security Jobs Increasing

Level of Unfilled Cyber Security Jobs Increasing

According to an (ISC)2 survey, in the next five years, there will be 1.8 million unfilled cyber security jobs. This is a 20 percent increase from the estimates in 2015. The (ISC)2 surveyed 19,000 cyber security officials worldwide to discover what they’re most concerned about and why there are so many unfilled jobs.

A report from Cybersecurity Ventures estimates an even higher number of unfilled jobs, predicting 3.5 million open cyber security positions by 2021. The United States currently employs about 780,000 cyber security professionals, but there are 350,000 job openings. This is a large increase from 2015, when there were 209,000 cyber security positions open. Additionally, between 2010 and 2015, the number of open positions increased by 75 percent.

India is also experiencing a serious shortage in cyber security professionals. They will probably have one million open positions by 2020. Both the (ISC)2 and the Cybersecurity Ventures reports call attention to a serious issue in the cyber security field.

Increasing Cyber Security Threats

One of the biggest reasons for the increasing number of unfilled jobs is the rise in cyber security threats. Cybercriminals’ strategies are constantly evolving, and low-tech criminals are now able to get into hacking with crimeware kits. This has become such a big threat that the 2017 Cybersecurity Jobs Report stated, “Every IT position is also a security position now. Every IT worker, every technology worker needs to be involved with protecting and defending apps, data, devices, infrastructure, and people.”

The report from Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that cyber security costs will double to $6 trillion by 2021. They took data from media, governments, job boards, analysts, and vendors. Cyber security costs include:

  • Destruction of data
  • Stolen money
  • Intellectual property theft
  • Fraud and embezzlement
  • Forensic investigation
  • Lost productivity
  • Restoration of hacked data
  • Reputation damage

According to the (ISC)2 report, the most commonly-reported threat that cyber security officials perceived was data exposure. About 35 percent of professionals surveyed in North America and 37 percent surveyed in the Asia-Pacific region reported that this was the greatest threat. In the Middle-East Africa region, hacking was the most commonly-reported concern, with 47 percent of survey participants identifying it as the biggest threat. About 44 percent of respondents in Latin America and 28 percent of respondents in Europe reported that ransomware was the biggest threat.

About 66 percent of cyber security professionals reported that they don’t have enough employees to handle the increasing number of cyber threats. This is an increase from 2015, when 62 percent of those surveyed reported that they were understaffed.

North America is the most understaffed region, with 68 percent of organisations reporting that they don’t have enough employees to address threats. Latin America and the Middle-East Africa closely follow, with 67 percent of organisations feeling understaffed.

In Europe, hiring managers have a plan to increase the cyber security workforce by at least 15 percent. (ISC)2’s CEO, David Shearer, says, “The forthcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that was adopted on April 27, 2016 creates challenging data protection requirements for all individuals within the European Union.” The GDPR’s compliance deadline is May 25, 2018, so hiring plans in the EU should accelerate throughout the next year.

Lack of Qualified Workers

The problem with understaffing is not just caused by an increase in cyber threats, but also by a lack of qualified workers. The majority of survey respondents in North America said that the main reason for their shortage was a lack of qualified individuals.

Cyber security programs are less common and less popular than computer science degrees. Even though the career has good pay and job security, many people pursue traditional IT or computer science degrees instead. Shearer says, “It may very well be that we’re not doing a good enough job of making the case to students that cyber security can be a rewarding career path from monetary, job stability, and a sense contribution perspectives.”

Some specialisations within the cyber security field are especially lacking in qualified workers. In the (ISC)2 survey, 62 percent of respondents said that they wanted more employees in operations and security management jobs. About 58 percent of respondents also wanted more individuals in the incident and threat management and forensics areas.

Potential Solutions

Many professionals are concerned that there aren’t enough qualified workers to fill the increasing job openings. With cyber threats on the rise, this could be troubling for all industries.

There isn’t a clear solution to this problem, but some cyber security officials suggest making the field more accessible to other IT workers or even to workers in non-technical fields. In a survey from Dark Reading, 58 percent of cyber security officials reported that their prior experience in cyber security was necessary for them to be hired. However, 87 percent of cyber security professionals switched to the field from another career. About 30 percent switched from a non-technical career in business, marketing, or accounting.

Some professionals suggest making training and certification more accessible for non-technical workers or non-security IT workers. There are several certifications that can qualify individuals to work in cyber security, including:

  • CISSP, or Certified Information Systems Security Professional
  • CompTIA Security+
  • CISM, or Certified Information Security Manager
  • CEH, or Certified Ethical Hacker
  • GIAC, or Global Information Assurance Certification

Encouraging more people to choose cyber security IT degrees will also increase the number of cyber security professionals in the workforce in the future.

Cyber security careers become more and more important every year. As threats increase, the number of job openings worldwide will climb. Every region in the world reports a lack of cyber security professionals while also reporting concern about threats. With the predicted increase in job openings over the next five years, cyber security may be one of the careers with the best job security and outlook. However, the job requires a certification or a degree, and many workers don’t meet the qualifications. Hopefully, as the unfilled jobs rise, more people will turn to cyber security for a career.

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