APAC faces 2.1M shortage in cybersecurity professionals

Asia-Pacific region sees greatest growth in cybersecurity workforce, but still struggles to fill a gap of more than 2.16 million with 60% of organisations reporting a significant shortage in security staff, according to a study released by ISC2.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

Asia-Pacific has clocked the largest growth in cybersecurity workforce, but still faces a shortage exceeding 2.16 million. More than half of respondents in the region feel this gap puts their organisation at a "moderate" or "extreme" risk of cyber attacks. 

Worldwide, the number of cybersecurity professionals hit a record of almost 4.66 million this year, of whom 859,027 were based in Asia-Pacific, according to the 2022 ISC2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study. The online survey was conducted in collaboration with Forrester Research between May and June this year, polling 11,779 individuals responsible for cybersecurity in their workplace. Respondents were from 14 markets across four regions, including Singapore, Australia, South Korea, Japan, China, India, the US, and the UK. 

The report estimated that the global cybersecurity workforce grew 11.1% year-on-year, with 464,000 roles added in 2022. Asia-Pacific clocked the greatest growth at 15.6%, while EMEA's workforce expanded by 12.5%, Latin America by 12.2%, and North America by 6.2%. North America also was home to the largest group of cybersecurity staff at 1.34 million. 

ISC2 (International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium) is a global non-profit association comprising certified cybersecurity professionals.

While Asia-Pacific saw the largest growth in workforce, the region registered a 52.4% wider gap this year of 2.16 million, the study found. Singapore, in particular, saw a 16.5% drop in the number cybersecurity staff to 77,425 and was one only two markets to see its workforce shrink. Germany reported a marginal 0.01% dip in its workforce. 

The global cybersecurity workforce shortage widened by 26.2% to 3.42 million, with the Asia-Pacific region seeing the largest gap followed by Latin America, which faced a 515,879 workforce void, and North America at 436,080.

Across Asia-Pacific, 60% of respondents said their organisation had a significant shortage of cybersecurity staff, with 56% noting that the skills gap placed their company at a moderate or extreme risk of a cyber attack. 

Some 71% in the region anticipated an increase in cybersecurity staff within the next year, compared to 53% and 41% who indicated likewise in 2021 and 2020, respectively. 

Half of Asia-Pacific respondents expressed concerns about the skills shortage in the sector, though, 25% said their organisation would increase their security budget in the event of a breach, compared to 18% who said they would hire additional IT staff.

in Singapore, 67% said they were investing in training to prevent or mitigate their company's shortage in cybersecurity staff, which 67% revealed was due to difficulty in finding sufficient qualified talent.  

ISC2 CEO Clar Rosso said: "Geopolitical tensions and macroeconomic instability, alongside high-profile data breaches and growing physical security challenges, have resulted in a greater focus on cybersecurity and the need for more professionals within the field. The study shows us that retaining and attracting strong talent is more important than ever."


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