There are over 4 million cybersecurity professionals worldwide. But we need almost twice as many.
The global cybersecurity skills gap narrowed over the past year, from 3.1 million to 2.7 million people, according to the newly-published 2021 (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study.
It estimates that there are 4.19 cybersecurity professionals worldwide - 700.000 more compared to last year.
In the US, there are now more than 1.1 million cybersecurity professionals (approx. 880,000 in 2020), and in Europe - almost 1.1 million compared to 830,000 last year.
The 2021 (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study collected survey data from a record 4,753 cybersecurity professionals working with small, medium, and large organizations throughout North America, Europe, Latin America (LATAM), and Asia-Pacific (APAC).
Roughly one-third of the survey respondents indicated that a shortage in cybersecurity team members has led to real-world impacts, including misconfigured systems, not enough time for risk assessment and management, rushed deployments, and slowly patched critical systems.
Despite some of the prevailing narratives in the media about cybersecurity professionals feeling stressed, unappreciated, and facing overwhelming pressure, (ISC)2 research continues to reveal a highly engaged and satisfied workforce.
“Cybersecurity is anything but stable or predictable. Perhaps partly because of its very dynamism and the challenges it presents, many successful cybersecurity professionals overwhelmingly report happiness with their jobs. In fact, those currently in cybersecurity roles have consistently expressed very high levels of job satisfaction over the last four years, and they reported sharply higher satisfaction in the last two,” the research claims.
Job satisfaction numbers are the highest ever reported, with 77% of respondents saying they are satisfied or extremely satisfied with their jobs. That’s a significant boost from 66% in 2019.
The global cybersecurity force is well-educated - 86% have a bachelor’s degree or higher. It is also technically grounded - among those respondents with college degrees, most graduated with diplomas in STEM fields (46% computer science, 18% engineering, 3% mathematics), and some from business fields (8% business, 4% finance, 3% economics).
Research also claims that cybersecurity professionals are ‘strongly compensated.’ Respondents reported an average salary before taxes of $90,900 — up from $83,000 among respondents in 2020 and $69,000 in 2019 — with 31% reporting a median annual salary of $100,000 or more.
Salaries and their distributions vary broadly by region. In North America, the average salary is $119,000 before taxes, Latin America - $32,000, Europe - $78,000, and APAC - $61,000.
26% of respondents globally chose not to disclose their salaries.
Among study participants, the field also continues to be predominantly male (76%) and Caucasian (72%) in North America and the UK.
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