Cybersecurity graduates rise but firms still facing talent shortage

The Covid-19 pandemic induced digitization has subsequently lead to an increase in cyber security breaches and cyber attacks. However, majority of cyber security teams in Indian IT sector are skill understaffed. India is grappling with the shortage of skilled cyber security professionals, and we are not alone. Countries like Australia, UK, US and Canada are facing the same challenge.

The shortage of skilled cyber security professionals in India is 9% higher than the global average. Data Security Council of India estimates the country will need about one million cyber security professionals. According to a survey report from ISACA-HCL Technologies, 49% of the organisations say that they have unfilled positions in their cyber security divisions.

There were unfilled positions in their organisation, and it took anywhere between three to six months to fill an open position in the field.

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As per the report, while companies have increased their spending on cyber security technology initiatives, they are still struggling with talent shortage. Another issue that organisations are facing is that a majority of cyber security applicants are not well qualified and a few number of their HR teams understand their cybersecurity hiring needs.

Cyber security professionals are not highly paid and have poor financial incentives. This leads to large scale attrition among these professionals.

Limited growth and promotion opportunities for cyber security professionals in the country was the main deterrent for many professionals to take up cyber security as a career.

“The Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant remote working has further emphasised the need for a robust cybersecurity approach. Upskilling, reskilling professionals to be able to quickly understand and address threats of data breaches and privacy is the need of the hour,” said R.V. Raghu, Member of ISACA’s Emerging Trends Working Group and Director at Versatilist Consulting India Pvt Ltd.

The increase in cyber attacks on large economies, including India, have put a spotlight on the need to focus on cyber security skills. Unfortunately, neither the corporate nor the customers are willing to pick the tab on continuing costs associated with cyber security making skill development a low priority leading to severe shortage of skills in India.