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Here’s Everything You Need to Know About the Cyber Security Talent Gap and Why It Affects You

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11 August, 2020

The hiring gap in the field of cyber security is so undeniable with the facts and figures we see every day.  

In the year 2021, there would be approximately 3.5 million unfulfilled jobs in cybersecurity, posits the latest report by Cybersecurity Ventures.  

The same report shows that cybersecurity workforce needs to increase by a whopping 145% to fill this increasing gap.  

When it comes to cyber threats, no one seems impenetrable these days. New risks, new ways of security threats emerge each day making people and organizations alike vulnerable. There’s a need to hire cyber security professionals, but most companies find it challenging to fulfill that role.   

There’s a misconception among people that cyber security majorly consists of ethical hacking, which is why most prepare themselves accordingly. While in reality, ethical hacking is a skill that is hardly required in the corporate sector to be a cybersecurity professional. Popular domains in cybersecurity are detecting malware, developing secure software, and analyzing threats.  


How Big Is the Problem?   

According to the 2016 Global Cybersecurity Status Report by ISACA, 53% of companies experience approximately 6 months of delay in fining proper candidates and 84% of them feel that only half of the candidates that apply are qualified enough. Apart from this, other reports and data show that organizations do not receive enough applications for the job.  

And with malware and phishing attacking becoming more rampant during the pandemic, the need has arisen even more.   

Impact of Cybersecurity Gap   

More than cyber threats, a shortage of candidates with cybersecurity skills has become a bigger threat for organizations. For organizations, lack of talent exposes them to complex cyber frauds and attacks, and for individuals, lack of basic cybersecurity knowledge exposes them to common crimes such as financial scams, identity theft, and information hacking.   

Top Challenges:   

To address these issues, let us look at the challenges that are preventing organizations from filling the gap.  

  • Lack of investment: Governments have not taken investment in cybersecurity as a priority issue, which is why we commonly see a lack of educational development in the field.  
    There are not enough colleges that offer a course specifically in the field of cybersecurity. Also, governments have no concrete laws and regulations when it comes to cybersecurity.  
    A study by Intel also showed that only 7% of top universities and a third of top universities in the countries that were researched offered an undergraduate program in cybersecurity.   

  • Cost of training: According to a study conducted by Gartner, companies spent an average of 5.6 percent of the total IT budget on IT security and risk management but also prompted that it could increase in the future, and the latest trends shows that it has already.  
    Companies often focus on investing in the tech required for ensuring cybersecurity rather than investing in their personnel. While the technology is important, it would be made redundant without capable minds operating behind them. 
    One factor that deters organizations from investing in personnel training is the fear that they’d leave the organization soon. However, there are ways to overcome that as well, as we’d see later.  

  • Lack of education programs and structured training: There is a shortage of educational programs that focus on cybersecurity. A study by Intel says that the focus has always been on STEM programs, i.e., mainstream courses, but there is a need for specialization courses in cybersecurity. Also, companies do not invest in upskilling programs when it comes to cybersecurity as these courses are very expensive and often don’t fit in the allocated budget.   

  • Lack of experienced candidates: Experience is what makes a candidate skilled and, therefore, more desirable when hiring. Due to inefficient educational programs and training, not many candidates who appear for interview have adequate skills and experience.   

How Do You Closing this Gap   

  • Invest in training: According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), worldwide revenue for security technology is to surpass $100 Billion in 2020, with the security training and certification market alone being worth over two-billion dollars.  
    Companies need to map their requirement and invest in training to support, create, and maintain security systems effectively. It is also necessary to ensure that the trained personnel can end-to-end manage the processes.  
  • Develop skills: For organizations to address the gap, encourage skill development, and learning, it is important to assess the skills and benchmark a proficiency parameter. For this purpose, you can conduct a cyber security test using imocha. After conducting the test, you’d understand where the gaps in knowledge lie.  
    Moreover, by chasing candidates from a small group of IT engineers or degree holders, companies fail to see the skills and talent they can obtain by exploring skills instead of degrees. With the right skill assessment tool, companies can assess all types of candidates irrespective of their qualification and obtain suitable candidates with the correct kind of skills.   


  • Re-assess effectiveness of existing employees: Hiring could be a lean approach to address the skill gap. Instead, companies can reassess the effectiveness of their current talent pool by conducting online skill assessment and introducing training.   Moreover, if you’re investing in someone’s training, the employee is bound to be grateful towards the organization. If you want to limit attrition after the training, you can also extend the bond period for the employee. 
  • Identify threats: Hiring a cybersecurity expert with the required skills and developing skills may be important, but the first and the last step to prevent cyber-attacks is threat identification. Organizations need to be aware of sources and plausible threats. You may have a great team of professionals to keep the company safe from cyber-attacks but it is necessary to see if the team is overworked. Also, pay attention to the communication gap that can pose threats or the lack of coordination in the team.   


Considering the above-discussed points, it is evident that prevention is the best cure. Either by recruiting the right talent or by nurturing the right skills, organizations can definitely curb the issue of hiring skills gap. 

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Bhagyashree Shintre
Bhagyashree Shintre
Bhagyashree Shintre is a content writer at iMocha. A prolific reader and writer with a passion for all things marketing. She believes that the devil is in the details and likes to share what she knows. She loves to practice her hobbies like painting and gardening every day. She believes that knowledge of HR function is important for everyone working today and aims to share the insights through her writing.

Topics: Tech Recruitment, Skills Assessment

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