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The Lightcast Quarterly Cybersecurity Talent Report

253,620 Cybersecurity Workers Needed

82%

Of Cybersecurity Jobs

Can Be Filled With Our Exisiting Cybersecurity Workforce

8%

Of Cybersecurity Workers

Were Hired Directly After Completing Their Education

17%

Talent Surplus

For Jobs Requring Under Two Years of Experience

<80%

Of Cybersecurity Jobs Requesting 2+ Years of Experience

Can Be Filled With Existing Workers

Cybersecurity employers can't find experienced workers, and new cybersecurity workers can't find their first job.


In the inaugural release of the Lightcast Quarterly Cybersecurity Talent Report for Q1 2024, we find there is a national talent shortage of 253,620 skilled cybersecurity workers across the United States.

 

The shortage is most pronounced among experienced cybersecurity professionals, with the greatest talent gaps observed for cybersecurity jobs requesting multiple years of experience. Cybersecurity jobs requesting 2+ years of experience have under 80% of the supply needed to meet employer demand, while entry-level cybersecurity jobs have a worker surplus of 17% relative to employer demand.

 

To build the existing cybersecurity workforce, employers have largely emphasized hiring experienced workers from cybersecurity as well as adjacent fields. Around 53% of existing cybersecurity workers were sourced from other cybersecurity or IT roles, while another 39% were experienced workers sourced from non-IT fields. Only 8% of existing cybersecurity workers were hired directly after completing their education, with the majority of those workers being hired out of programs at the bachelor’s level or above.

 

These findings suggest that employers find it difficult to fill cybersecurity roles requiring multiple years of experience, while new entrants to cybersecurity find it difficult to land their first role. As a result, there is a need to expand the cybersecurity talent pipeline to bring new workers into the field, while there is also a need to expand opportunities for entry-level workers.

 

Some strategies to close the cybersecurity talent gap include revising hiring requirements and attracting talent from non-traditional career or educational backgrounds. Expanding the talent pipeline in these ways has high potential to simultaneously close the cybersecurity talent gap while diversifying the cybersecurity workforce.

About This Report


Lightcast developed the Quarterly Cybersecurity Talent Report as a commitment to support the National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy from the White House’s Office of the National Cyber Director. It leverages and expands upon data Lightcast provides to CyberSeek.org, the definitive source for cybersecurity workforce information that Lightcast developed and maintains in partnership with CompTIA and NICE.


The National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy was created to strengthen the cyber workforce in the US and connect people to well-paying, quality jobs. This strategy seeks to transform cyber education, advocating for a skills-based approach to build more robust cyber career pathways. It aims to foster extensive collaboration between employers, educators, government, and other key stakeholders to meet both urgent and long-term workforce needs.


Lightcast is proud to be part of this collaboration. Every quarter, our team—led by Will Markow, VP of Applied Research—will supply the White House with the latest updates on the national cybersecurity talent landscape in order to help shape policy to meet present and future needs in the cybersecurity workforce.

The Cybersecurity Talent Gap


In Q1 of 2024, there were 1,402,274 cybersecurity jobs demanded in the United States with only 1,147,654 skilled cybersecurity workers available to fill them. This represents only 82% of the cybersecurity workers demanded by employers and leaves a talent gap of 253,620 skilled cybersecurity workers across the country.


Cybersecurity Talent Gap by Experience Level

 

The cybersecurity talent gap presents unique challenges across different experience levels. Despite an overall cybersecurity talent shortage, entry-level cybersecurity jobs requiring zero to two years of experience have a worker surplus, with demand outpacing supply by 17%. Meanwhile, there is a shortage of skilled cybersecurity workers for all higher experience levels, with the share of supply relative to demand progressively decreasing as experience levels increase.


While postings requesting 10+ years of experience encounter the lowest supply and demand ratio, most of the demand for cybersecurity professionals is concentrated in the 2-5 and 5-10 years of experience buckets. Therefore, these two experience ranges have the largest absolute talent gaps.




Cybersecurity Talent Pipeline

 

The current cybersecurity talent pipeline largely emphasizes hiring experienced workers from cybersecurity as well as adjacent fields. Currently, 27% of existing cybersecurity workers were sourced directly from another cybersecurity role, while 26% were sourced from other non-cybersecurity IT roles. Of the remaining cybersecurity workers, 39% were sourced from non-IT fields, while 8% of existing cybersecurity workers were hired directly after completing their education. The majority of these entry-level cybersecurity workers came from a bachelor’s program or higher, with only 1% of current cybersecurity workers having been hired directly from a degree program below a bachelor’s degree.