A global survey of this sector of IT professionals also shows shifting trends in workforce perceptions, aspirations and DEI

In a May/June 2022 online survey of 11,779 individuals responsible for cybersecurity at workplaces throughout North America; Latin America (LATAM); the Asia Pacific region (APAC); and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), four initiatives were found to be the most effective way to close the talent shortage in the region.

The measures include: grooming internal talent, rotating job assignments, mentorship programs and encouraging employees outside of IT or the security team to join the field.

The survey data shows that the global cybersecurity workforce comprises an estimated 4.7m professionals, with around 859,000 in APAC after a 15.6% growth — the greatest regional growth recorded in the data globally.

APAC findings
The data revealed a workforce gap of almost 2.2m in the region, a 52.4% year-on-year increase in talent shortage. Also, for APAC:

    • 60% of respondents indicated their organization facing a significant shortage of cybersecurity staff, with 56% also feeling that staff deficits put their organization at a “moderate” or “extreme” risk of a cyberattack.
    • 71% of respondents expected their cybersecurity staff numbers to increase “somewhat” or “significantly” within the next 12 months, similar to the global average of 72%, which is the highest predicted growth rate compared to the last two years (53% in 2021, 41% in 2020).

Other findings
The survey of cybersecurity personnel examined cultural and demographic shifts over the last year, as well as factors such as workplace conditions such as burnout, racial, gender and ethnic diversity, the changing perception of certifications in the field, as well as the impact from current events. Key findings include:

    • Corporate culture
      • 75% of global respondents reported strong job satisfaction and the same percentage feel passionate about cybersecurity work. Some 70% indicated they were overworked despite the positive attributes
      • 66% of Singapore respondents indicated that an increase in remote work had drastically changed how their organization approaches cybersecurity, and 46% would consider switching jobs if they were no longer allowed to work remotely.
      • 67% of Singapore respondents were investing in training to help prevent or mitigate cybersecurity staff shortages at their organization; of which 67% indicated the “inability to find enough qualified talent” as the biggest cause of this shortage
    • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
      • 55% of global respondents indicated that diversity will increase among their teams within two years
      • 25% (estimated) of global respondents below age 30 considered gatekeeping and generational tensions as top challenges for the next two years, compared to 6% of workers aged 60 or older
      • 47% of APAC respondents stated that their organization was investing in DEI initiatives
    • Industry perceptions and trends
      • 64% of global respondents sought after new certifications for skills growth and staying current with security trends
      • 25% of APAC respondents indicated that their organization would increase their security budget as the result of a breach, with 18% stating that their organization would hire additional IT staff
      • 50% of APAC respondents were concerned about the skills shortage in the cybersecurity sector but this was considered a lesser risk compared the shortage in other regions
      • 26% of APAC respondents were more focused on business continuity/resilience due to the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war: this was low compared to the number of concerned respondents in the other regions

According to Clar Rosso, CEO, (ISC)², which commissioned the survey: “Geopolitical tensions and macroeconomic instability, alongside high-profile data breaches and growing physical security challenges, have resulted in a greater focus on cybersecurity and the need for more professionals within the field. The study shows us that retaining and attracting strong talent is more important than ever. Professionals are saying loud and clear that corporate culture, experience, training and education investment, and mentorship are paramount to keeping teams motivated, engaged and effective.”