This is a free excerpt from one of Shortform’s Articles. We give you all the important information you need to know about current events and more.
Don't miss out on the whole story. Sign up for a free trial here .
What’s behind the cybersecurity industry worker shortage? Why is it a problem? What can be done to fix it?
In the second quarter of 2022, fifty-two million data breaches occurred globally. But at a time when the cybersecurity industry has its hands full, it also finds them tied: More than 700,000 cybersecurity positions are unfilled across the US and by 2025, there will be enough vacant jobs to fill 50 NFL stadiums.
Below, we’ll examine why there’s a cybersecurity industry worker shortage and what can be done about it.
The Cybersecurity Worker Shortage
In the second quarter of 2022, fifty-two million data breaches occurred globally and 60% of corporate data was stored on the cloud—a percentage that’s on the rise. But at a time when the cybersecurity industry has its hands full, it can’t call all hands on deck: More than 700,000 cybersecurity positions are unfilled across the US, and by 2025, enough of these jobs will be vacant to fill 50 NFL stadiums.
Why the Worker Shortage Exists
Experts attribute the shortage to the increase in threats and consumers’ interest in privacy and security issues, which have helped the industry grow. But the cybersecurity industry is also in a transition period, saddled with an underdeveloped high school-to-cybersecurity industry pipeline not yet capable of developing and funneling a robust talent pool into the field:
- There’s a skills gap. Inadequate STEM curriculum is leaving high school and college students without math and science skills needed for advanced technology programs that lead to cybersecurity jobs.
- There’s a gender and racial gap. Just 24% of the cybersecurity workforce are women, 9% are Black, 8% Asian, and 4% Hispanic. The industry has historically been inhospitable to these groups, plagued by discrepancies in pay, job discrimination, and fewer career advancement possibilities. Inequitable access to educational opportunities further fuels the problem.
- College curricula are behind the eight ball. Universities, rooted in rigorous research, often operate at slower speeds than fast-paced, burgeoning industries like cybersecurity. As a result, they’re behind in preparing students for the field.
- Cybersecurity professors are in short supply. Greater financial incentives exist for cybersecurity professionals in the private sector than at colleges, making the latter a less appealing career choice.
- Cybersecurity companies have unrealistic candidate wish lists. Companies want to hire workers who, on day one, have the hard skills necessary to predict and prevent threats and breaches. But this “perfect” candidate doesn’t currently exist in mass.
Why the Shortage Is a Problem
The ongoing shortage, combined with an ever-increasing number of cyber threats, creates a host of potential problems for both the industry and individuals whose data privacy it’s charged with protecting.
Cybersecurity worker shortages decrease companies’ ability to achieve compliance (in other words, meet standards and regulatory requirements by setting controls to protect data confidentiality, integrity, and availability). Compliance failures and data breaches can:
- Expose customers’ personal, financial, and health information.
- Damage companies’ reputation and finances and lead to legal action.
- Cause companies to experience productivity losses.
How to Address the Shortage
Experts say that to reduce worker shortages, colleges and companies must strengthen the school-to-cybersecurity industry pipeline and reimagine hiring practices.
Colleges can bolster current efforts to develop and fill the talent and skills gap in the following ways:
- Establish more cybersecurity-specific courses.
- Encourage cybersecurity professionals to dip their toes into the college professor pool.
- Partner with the corporate sector to connect students with, and enable them to apply technical skills in, cybersecurity settings.
Cybersecurity companies can take these key steps to address the shortage:
- Focus less on hiring the “perfect” candidate.
Want to fast-track your learning? With Shortform, you’ll gain insights you won't find anywhere else .
Here's what you’ll get when you sign up for Shortform :
- Complicated ideas explained in simple and concise ways
- Smart analysis that connects what you’re reading to other key concepts
- Writing with zero fluff because we know how important your time is