Cybersecurity hiring remains red-hot—the industry to surpass $400 billion market size by 2027

BY Sydney LakeJuly 22, 2022, 1:52 PM
People attend the Mega Job Fair held at the FLA Live Arena, as seen in June 2022 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In 2017, the global cybersecurity industry had an approximate market size of $86.4 billion, according to research conducted by Gartner, a tech research and consulting firm. But just a decade later, the market is expected to grow nearly 80%. By 2027, market research company BrandEssence projects that the global cybersecurity market will reach $403 billion; that’s with a compound annual growth rate of 12.5% between 2020 and 2027. 

This rapid growth rate is the result of a cycle of actions between cybercrime actors and intelligence agencies, explains Kayne McGladrey, a Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) senior member, and cybersecurity strategist at Ascent Solutions. While cybercrime actors reinvest their illegally gained profits in developing new capabilities, employing more staff, and diversifying their supply chains, cybersecurity customers aren’t investing or hiring at the same rate.

“As a result, those companies with solutions and products in the cybersecurity industry are heavily reinvesting their profits into research and development of artificial intelligence-based solutions intended to automatically detect and remediate actions from these increasingly well-funded adversaries,” McGladrey tells Fortune. “This cycle will continue so long as it remains profitable for cybercrime actors, barring remarkable changes in how companies prioritize and address their cyber risks.”

Why the cybersecurity industry is growing so much

Simply put, there are more cyber attacks happening each year. Between 2020 and 2021, the average number of cybersecurity attacks per year rose 31%, to 270 attacks, according to Accenture’s State of Cybersecurity Report 2021. And the average number of successful attacks per company was 29. 

For that reason, adequate cybersecurity measures are becoming a necessary venture for companies of all shapes and sizes. 

“Cybersecurity is an integral part of all businesses, whether they are online or not, especially given the proliferation of payment networks, cloud-based data storage, and everything else regardless of if they are internet facing businesses,” Yale Fox, IEEE member and CEO of Public Benefit Technologies, tells Fortune

Plus, new technology is growing at a rapid pace. As Fox points out, artificial intelligence and machine learning are really “just starting to awaken,” he says. “We’re in the middle of a renaissance right now.” 

As a result, Yale says the market could end up being larger than the projected target of $400 billion by 2027. “We’re in the eye of the storm for a rapid and exponential growth of all the tech industries.”

The need for cybersecurity talent

With massive industry growth comes the need for more trained cybersecurity professionals. But we’re already short-staffed in the U.S.—and a lot of that has to do with the fact that there simply aren’t enough people trained and qualified to work on some of these complex systems. 

“Organizations are challenged in hiring cyber security experts who are equipped with the skills to defend the complex attack surface, like the cloud, and can operate the new technologies that are being purchased every year,” Adi Dar, CEO and founder of Cyberbit, a company that offers cybersecurity readiness and skills platform, tells Fortune. 

In the U.S., there are about 1 million cybersecurity workers, but there were around 715,000 jobs yet to be filled as of November 2021, according to a report by Emsi Burning Glass (now Lightcast), a market research company. Worldwide, the number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs worldwide grew 350% between 2013 and 2021, from 1 million to 3.5 million, according to Cybersecurity Ventures

Companies continue to hunt for cyber talent, but many of these jobs require credentials, certifications, or a master’s degree in the field

“There’s just not enough people in cyber security with the skills to handle the new threat landscape,” Dar says. “Government, education, and industry should urgently get together to find a way to increase both the quantity and quality of the workforce in cybersecurity, or we’ll keep seeing an increase in spend year over year, with no real impact.”

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