Illustration of padlocks floating in a digital matrix. One lock is lit up in red as it is open and unsecured.
Image: © RDVector/

How to solve the cybersecurity workforce shortage

24 Jun 2021

With many organisations concerned they are sitting ducks for cybercriminals, narrowing the gap between supply and demand for cybersecurity jobs is vital.

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The cybersecurity skills shortage is getting worse according to industry experts. A 2018 ESG/ISSA research report asked 267 cybersecurity professionals whether the cybersecurity skills shortage has had an impact on the organisation they work at. Nearly three-quarters (74pc) of respondents said that the cybersecurity skills shortage had impacted their organisations significantly or somewhat.

Jobs which continue to suffer the most skill shortages include IT security specialists, information security analysts, network security engineers, security engineers and application security engineers.

So what are the reasons for these skill shortages? Experts cite the increasing number of attacks, not enough skilled defenders, the lack of interest from younger generations in a cybersecurity career, and high employee turnover due to burnout as the main factors.

Cybersecurity experts Varonis have several recommendations companies can take note of to rescue the situation, however. They say companies should ensure the people they hire possess the skills lacking in-house. New hires should also fulfil the company’s compliance requirements.

When trying to interest young people in a cybersecurity career it is imperative for HR managers to have a good outreach campaign in place to explain to young talent what exactly is involved in the job spec and provide detailed descriptions of each role when recruiting.

Furthermore, companies should try and develop apprenticeship schemes to teach young people about cybersecurity using real-life scenarios.

Remember, also, that people can come to work in cybersecurity from any background with the right training schemes in place. It is down to companies who need cybersecurity workers to demonstrate a willingness to invest in their futures. They could offer training programmes and courses to employees to make them feel valued, as their skills are vital for all of us and our safety online.

Infographic on cybersecurity skills shortage.

Click to enlarge. Infographic: Varonis

Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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