Cybersecurity sees swell in workforce

(ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study shows a 25 percent increase in cybersecurity pros in 2020

Posted 12 November 2020 by Christine Horton

The cybersecurity workforce gap has shrunk for the first time, according to a new report.

The global 2020 Cybersecurity Workforce Study from nonprofit (ISC)² reveals that the cybersecurity profession experienced substantial growth in its global ranks, increasing to 3.5 million people currently working in the field, an addition of 700,000 pros or 25 percent more than last year’s workforce estimate.

The research also indicates a corresponding decrease in the global workforce shortage, now down to 3.12 million from the 4.07 million shortage reported last year.

(ISC)² attributes the changes in part to more talent entering the field, alongside uncertain demand due to the economic impact of COVID-19.

The study also focused on how security teams and professionals were impacted by COVID-19. The data shows that 30 percent of cybersecurity pros faced a deadline of one day or less to transition their organisations’ staff to remote work and to secure their newly transformed IT environments. Ninety-two percent of respondents indicated that their organisation was “somewhat” or “very” prepared to respond, and just 18 percent saw security incidents increase during this time.

“Overall, we’re seeing some very positive trends from the cybersecurity workforce reflected in this new data,” said Clar Rosso, CEO of (ISC)2. “The response to COVID-19 by the community and their ability to help securely migrate entire organisational systems to remote work, almost overnight, has been an unprecedented success and a best-case scenario in a lot of ways. Cybersecurity professionals rose to the challenge and solidified their value to their organisations.”

Additional highlighted findings include:

  • Job satisfaction rates increased year-over-year, with 75 percent of respondents saying they are either “somewhat” or “very” satisfied
  • 56 percent of respondents say their organisations are at risk due to cybersecurity staff shortages
  • Cybersecurity practitioners are concerned that security budgets will be impacted by revenue losses related to COVID-19. Fifty-four percent are concerned about personnel spending while 51 percent are concerned about technology spending.
  • 23 percent said that they or a peer had been laid off because of the pandemic
  • 78 percent of cybersecurity professionals who still need to work from an office say they are either “somewhat” or “very” concerned about their personal safety in relation to COVID-19
  • Cloud computing security is far and away the most in-demand skillset, with 40 percent of respondents indicating they plan to develop it over the next two years
  • Just 49 percent of those in the field hold degrees in computer and information sciences, highlighting the fact that many of the professionals responsible for cybersecurity come from other areas of expertise