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The cybersecurity industry is undoubtedly facing headwinds. For example, nearly half of cybersecurity leaders will change jobs by 2025, with 25% leaving the field altogether.

While this talent shortage has had significant consequences, the industry isn’t without hope. Discover four critical factors behind the cybersecurity talent gap, how they’re affecting the industry, and what employers can do to bridge the gap.

Factors contributing to the cybersecurity talent gap

The global cybersecurity workforce gap continues to grow at a rate of 26.2% year over year. The gap in North America alone is expected to continue widening by 8.5% YoY. Here are just a few reasons why there continue to be more cybersecurity job openings than talent to fill them.

Rapid industry growth

The industry is growing faster than training programs can produce qualified candidates. Technology has evolved substantially in the last few years, and so has the work landscape. Remote and hybrid teams have become the norm, creating more vulnerabilities.

At the same time, cyber crime is rising and is expected to cost the world as much as $10.5 trillion per year by 2025. Consequently, the size of the cybersecurity workforce has grown by 6.2% in North America alone.

Less diverse talent pool

Diversity in the cybersecurity workforce is also growing at a slow pace. Just under a quarter of the global cybersecurity workforce comprises women under 30, and that percentage gets smaller as age increases. Some companies are also struggling to recruit and retain workers from other underrepresented groups.

Pursuing diverse talent opens organizations up to a wider talent pool, which can help address the current talent gap. Additionally, diversity brings more innovation and creativity to problem-solving, enhancing a company’s cybersecurity efforts.

To attract a more diverse pool of candidates, Irina Bednova, CTO at Cordless, recommends a focus on mentorship programs and inclusive hiring practices.

“Mentorship programs can provide guidance and support to individuals from underrepresented groups,” she explains.

“Inclusive hiring practices, such as blind recruitment and diverse interview panels, can help to eliminate bias in the recruitment process [and] ensure candidates are evaluated based on their skills and potential, rather than their background or identity.”

Evolving threat landscapes

Technology is constantly changing. Internet of Things (IoT) devices are becoming more popular in the workplace, and AI is getting more sophisticated every day. Bad actors are also becoming better at exploiting the vulnerabilities created by new technology and avoiding detection.

To combat these bad actors, there are some specific skills that experts have identified as crucial (but lacking) in the cybersecurity workforce. Two of these are threat hunting and cloud security.

According to Bednova, threat hunting involves proactively searching for cyber threats that may have evaded existing security solutions.

“This skill is crucial in today’s landscape, where new threats are constantly emerging,” she explains. “Cloud security, on the other hand, is becoming increasingly important as more businesses migrate their operations to the cloud.”

As threats continue to escalate, today’s cybersecurity professional not only needs a wider range of skills but a faster way of obtaining new skills than pursuing a traditional four-year university degree.

Lack of specialized training programs

Because threats evolve so rapidly, traditional degree programs often struggle to adjust their curricula fast enough to keep up.

The advent of new technology and cybercrime tactics means the world needs specialized training programs to educate professionals on the modern threat landscape and help them find cutting-edge solutions to modern cybersecurity issues.

That’s why Lighthouse Labs offers learning and development services to small, medium, and enterprise businesses trying to address cybersecurity skills gaps in their workforce. These services provide a streamlined solution to upskill employees so they can use emerging technologies to tackle increasingly complex cybersecurity threats.

Looking to upskill your team in cybersecurity? Connect with our Talent Development team to learn more about our off-the-shelf and bespoke cybersecurity training programs.

The consequences of the talent shortage

Today’s organizations must learn to navigate the cybersecurity skills gap with a sense of urgency. Otherwise, they risk facing serious consequences, including the following.

Increased vulnerability to attacks

When there aren’t enough trained cybersecurity workers to monitor and mitigate issues, it can negatively affect an organization’s ability to defend itself against bad actors. Today, 57% of global cybersecurity staff believe the current talent shortage puts their organization at moderate or extreme risk of experiencing a cyber attack.

Significant financial losses

The average cost of a data breach worldwide was $4.45 million in 2023—a 15% increase since 2020. Not only do many organizations incur immediate costs in cleaning up data breaches, but they can also experience long-term financial losses from significant network downtime and loss of consumer confidence.

Compromised data security

50% of cybersecurity professionals say the talent shortage has led to a lack of time for proper risk assessment and management. They’re also experiencing a host of issues with other resources, including misconfigured systems, a lack of urgency in patching critical systems, rushed deployments, and delays in purchasing or implementing technology.

These issues lead to compromised data security, in turn increasing both technological vulnerabilities and compliance risk.

Understand the real impact of our Cybersecurity Bootcamp. See how we're helping to close the talent gap, even in challenging times, by attending an Info Session.

cybersecurity talent shortage by sector chart

Strategies to bridge the cybersecurity talent gap

The good news is that the cybersecurity job market can rebound. By focusing its efforts on a few effective measures, employers can attract and retain top-tier cybersecurity talent.

Bednova says some of the most effective strategies business owners can use revolve around culture, compensation, and offering the right training. She points out that continuous learning opportunities allow employees to stay up-to-date with the latest cybersecurity trends and technologies. This not only enhances their skills but also keeps them engaged and motivated.

Competitive compensation packages communicate value to candidates and employees. This, coupled with a culture of teamwork and innovation, can help employees feel satisfied with their work and inspire a belief that what they do truly matters.

Competitive salaries

While there’s much more to job satisfaction than pay, research shows that those who earn higher incomes are more likely to report being very satisfied with their current jobs.

Consequently, it’s important for government entities and businesses hiring for cybersecurity roles to ensure they’re paying a competitive salary to keep turnover to a minimum and avoid problematic talent shortages.

Hiring tech grads

Cybersecurity bootcamps are excellent places to find professionals with up-to-date skills who are ready to tackle ever-evolving digital threats. These graduates have applied their skills in hands-on projects and have likely worked with emerging technologies in their studies.

Lighthouse Labs graduates receive an immersive education in which they gain extensive experience in fundamental cybersecurity skills and an understanding of how to defend against the latest threats. Upon graduation, our students are job-ready and have what it takes to dive into a variety of roles, from security analysts to incident responders and beyond.

Are you looking for highly skilled professionals to fill your cybersecurity roles? Hire our job-ready grads and join Lighthouse Labs’ growing network of hiring partners.

Career development opportunities

Promoting from within plays an important role in an organization’s ability to retain top talent. It shows those who work hard that their efforts will eventually be rewarded. However, it’s also important that cybersecurity professionals gain the skills they need to be effective at higher levels.

Investing in workforce learning & development (L&D) is key. Over 40% of cybersecurity professionals say they plan to pursue new certifications in the next six to 12 months.

Organizations can support their efforts by continuing to subsidize professional development in the form of reimbursements. Companies can also offer in-house opportunities like career pathing/planning, job shadowing, and mentors who can provide insight to the next generation. Finally, offering upskilling and reskilling opportunities can be a great way to address skills gaps, take advantage of new technologies, and help employees feel more competent and satisfied in their work.

Matt Brown, a Lighthouse Labs graduate, spent over 15 years in insurance account management and sales until he decided to make a career change. Lighthouse Labs’ Cybersecurity Bootcamp allowed him to reskill and gain industry-relevant competency through hands-on learning. Today, Matt works as a Sr. Compliance Specialist at Neo Financial, citing the Cybersecurity Bootcamp as a reason for his successful career change.

“The program singlehandedly changed my career path for the better. I believe that I was able to supplement my resume with cybersecurity and compliance education which helped me to be a great fit for this position.”

Work-from-home opportunities

The majority of workers want hybrid working arrangements, with 90% of remote-capable employees prefer having remote flexibility.

Organizations must capitalize on this preference by allowing those with remote-capable cybersecurity jobs to work from home when possible. Doing so can reduce stress and increase engagement and productivity, leading to a more satisfied workforce.

However, offering remote work can carry unintended consequences when it comes to the cybersecurity talent landscape. With the increase in remote work, the risk of unauthorized access will also increase, leading to a demand for skills to secure remote networks.

Diverse hires

To address the cybersecurity talent shortage, employers must commit to diversity in their hiring. Doing so can drastically widen the talent pool and result in more innovation and creative problem-solving. It’s also crucial for employers to move beyond just gender and ethnic diversity to include candidates from non-traditional backgrounds. For example, consider candidates who don’t have a computer science degree but come from high-quality training and certification programs.

The role of education and training

Access to cybersecurity education can be a major barrier to entry for would-be professionals. Therefore, there’s a need to make certification programs and training accessible to students who want to pursue cybersecurity career pathways.

However, these technical certifications and training should also be accompanied by education in soft skills like continual learning, adaptability, and teamwork. In an interview with Lighthouse Labs, cybersecurity leader Penny Longman added that employers value soft skills like continual learning, adaptability, and teamwork.

One way to close the skills gap is to have academia partner with the private sector, allowing professors to share critical knowledge that helps cyber talent keep their skills current.

Another option is to focus on specialized training programs. Such programs not only offer curricula that cover the advanced threats today’s companies face but also take less time to complete than traditional degrees, enabling professionals to enter the workforce quickly.

cybersecurity talent shortage by skill chart

Bridge the cybersecurity talent gap with Lighthouse Labs

As the cybersecurity threat landscape evolves rapidly and the demand for skilled professionals continues to outpace the supply, innovative strategies are required to bridge this gap effectively.

One promising approach is investing in career development opportunities and promoting from within to foster employee engagement and ensure a pipeline of skilled professionals ready to take on leadership roles.

Another approach is hiring graduates from specialized training programs like those offered by Lighthouse Labs. These graduates bring fresh perspectives and up-to-date skills honed through immersive education, making them valuable assets in defending against modern cyber threats.

In essence, by embracing a multifaceted approach that combines upskilling, hiring from specialized programs, promoting diversity, and investing in education, organizations can mitigate the impact of the cybersecurity talent shortage and strengthen their defences against emerging threats.

Get started upskilling and reskilling your team with Lighthouse Labs.

Connect with our Talent Acquisition team to hire diverse tech talent today.


What are the top 3 skills for cybersecurity experts?

The top 3 skills for cybersecurity experts are incident response, risk assessment and management, and security engineering and architecture skills.

Is there a lack of talent in cybersecurity?

Yes. The global cybersecurity workforce is currently experiencing a 12.6% gap year over year.

How do you retain cybersecurity talent?

Retaining cybersecurity talent requires employers to provide competitive salaries, career development opportunities, remote work opportunities, and a positive work culture.

Is cybersecurity a skill?

Cybersecurity is not a single skill but a collection of multiple skills, such as risk assessment, digital forensics, and application security.