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U.S. is Short Nearly 530,000 Skilled Cybersecurity Workers, IT Layoffs Not Slowing Demand

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Massive layoffs in the tech industry and a slowing economy have not cramped demand for cybersecurity professionals, according to data by Lightcast, a labor market specialist providing information on supply and demand in the cybersecurity job market.

Cyber Skills Demand Remains High

The resulting data presentation, published on the Cyberseek website, is a collaboration between Lightcast, the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) and the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), an IT trade group and certifying body.

Recent job cuts by tech giants at Alphabet’s Google (12,000), Microsoft (10,000) and Facebook parent Meta (11,000) and expected layoffs at Hewlett Packard (4,000 to 6,000 jobs in the next three years) among others have left open the question if demand for qualified cybersecurity skills will remain strong and the gap between qualified workers and open jobs will shrink.

In a new analysis, Lightcast said demand remains high, as the total number of employed cybersecurity workers held fairly steady in 2022 at around 1.1 million. Meanwhile, the number of online job postings edged down to slightly to 755,743 from 769,736 in the 12-month period ending in December 2022.

MSPs, MSSPs Help Fill the Gap

Some open jobs have been filled by outsourcing to managed service providers (MSPs) and managed security service providers (MSSPs). Others have been filled by upskilling existing workers, such as network administrators and engineers, systems administrators or other personnel who grasp IT and networking.

“Despite concerns about a slowing economy, demand for cybersecurity workers remains historically high. Companies know cybercrime won't pause for a market downturn, so employers can't afford to pause their cybersecurity hiring," said Will Markow, Lightcast vice president of applied research talent.

Here is some additional data from Lightcast's data:

  • Each of the first nine months of 2022 set records for the highest monthly cybersecurity demand since 2012 but cooled in November and December.
  • The supply-demand ratio is currently 68 workers per 100 job openings, slightly up from the previous period’s ratio of 65 workers per 100 openings. Based on these numbers, some 530,000 more cybersecurity workers are needed in the US in order to close current supply gaps.
  • Demand for cybersecurity workers rose in both public and private sectors. Between 2021 and 2022, public sector cybersecurity demand grew 25% to 45,708 postings, while private sector demand grew at a rate of 21% to 710,035 job listings. In the past three years, private sector cybersecurity demand has grown 36 percent, while public sector demand grew 58%.
D. Howard Kass

D. Howard Kass is a contributing editor to MSSP Alert. He brings a career in journalism and market research to the role. He has served as CRN News Editor, Dataquest Channel Analyst, and West Coast Senior Contributing Editor at Channelnomics. As the CEO of The Viewpoint Group, he led groundbreaking market research.