Resolving the Cybersecurity Workforce Shortage

Resolving the Cybersecurity Workforce Shortage

As organizations continue to navigate the growing threat landscape, another cybersecurity challenge looms: the shortage of cybersecurity personnel. How can we close the gap in the cybersecurity workforce?

By 2025, it is predicted that the global cybercrime damage can hit $10.5 trillion annually. What’s worse: in the same year, threat actors will weaponize operational technology environments, enough to potentially cause harm to our lives.

Given these numbers, are you confident that your IT team can handle these threats by then? Or a better question would be – will we still have enough professionals to fortify and maintain every organization’s cybersecurity posture?

Cyber threats are increasing, but the cybersecurity workforce isn’t.

Unfortunately, the number of unfilled cybersecurity roles globally had grown from 1 million to 3.5 million, from 2013-2021. Experts also predicted that in the next five years, the same number of jobs will still be open.

There are many factors why it has become difficult to fill cybersecurity jobs for the past years. One of them is the lack of well-qualified cybersecurity professionals. An average of 50% hiring managers stated that most applicants do not have the necessary credentials to get the job.

But what makes it difficult for individuals to acquire these credentials? The culprit: the dynamics of the cybersecurity landscape.

According to Will Markow, vice president of applied research talent at Emsi Burning Glass, the skill requirements for cybersecurity jobs evolve more rapidly. As new groundbreaking innovations are created, new security thresholds must also be explored.

But these concerns are mostly about new talent acquisition in the cybersecurity workforce. How about the IT leaders and experts who had been in the industry for years? What causes the difficulty of retaining cybersecurity talent?

As it turned out, the stress of defending against increasing threats every hour of every day is causing cybersecurity professionals to quit the industry all together. 46% of resigned cybersecurity staff claimed stress as their reason for quitting, and another 45% are already thinking about resigning on at least one or two occasions.

With threats evolving each day, being in the cybersecurity frontline is no easy job.

47% of senior cybersecurity professionals stated that it is impossible to stop every threat, and 43% found it even more stressful that they are expected to always be on call or available to detect and resolve these threats. Adding to that stress is that some of these threats were easily avoidable in the first place; had the non-IT staff been trained to at least avoid or deal with them accordingly.

Even in 2022, humans are still considered the weakest link in cybersecurity. Research showed that 82% of cyberattacks involved the human element in organizations, so it wouldn’t even matter if your organization had advanced or modern cybersecurity in place—an individual’s single mistake can just be the gateway threat actors need to infiltrate your system.

So, how can corporations resolve the current cybersecurity workforce shortage?

To resolve the gap in the cybersecurity workforce, organizations must consider the needs of cybersecurity professionals, the weaknesses of their entire workforce, and the potential technologies to build a cyber-resilient organization.

Here are four action plans that are recommended by cybersecurity experts to address the cybersecurity workforce shortage:

  1. Train your workforce in diverse cyberattack simulations.

A security information program can help raise awareness of various cyber threats in the entire workforce. But phishing or scam simulations can reinforce their learning in the case of real cyber threat scenarios, regardless if they are in an office, remote, or hybrid workplace.

  1. Develop cybersecurity boot camps, apprenticeships, and other job training programs.

For example, Deloitte launched a train-to-hire program to fill in roles that traditionally required cybersecurity undergraduate or graduate school qualifications. Creating similar programs will give opportunities for more individuals with diverse skill sets to resolve cybersecurity issues.

  1. Invest in partnerships and personalized training tracks with industry experts.

Finding and hiring industry experts within your corporation can be a challenge. Instead, start investing in alliances and partnerships with corporations specializing in cybersecurity. Seek their expertise to upskill and reskill your current roster of cybersecurity professionals.

  1. Leverage zero-trust models with Extended Detection and Response (XDR).

Zero-trust and XDR go hand-in-hand in threat detection. Zero-trust models provide holistic security solutions to continuously verify all users, resources, and devices before giving the minimum access to certain systems or applications. With XDR in the equation, your organization has essential visibility from endpoints to cloud environments and leverages threat-response automations; making it easier for cybersecurity teams to respond quickly and easily.


Closing the gap in the cybersecurity workforce is not just a business imperative, but also a huge concern to the state of global security in our everyday lives. We need to ensure that our cybersecurity frontline continues to grow and retain talent over the years, so that we can thrive in a secure and safe digital society.   


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Note. Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash.

CXO Connect Middle East Team