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India suffering high cybersecurity skill gap, 40k open positions: Report

Despite having the world's second-largest active internet user base, country represents just 6% of global cybersecurity jobs; demand-supply gap at 30% as of this May

India suffering high cybersecurity skill gap, 40k open positions: Report

Sourabh Lele New Delhi

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Even as cyber threats continue to rise in India – the second-largest global active internet user base – the country is currently facing a big skill gap in the cybersecurity domain and represents just six per cent of global cybersecurity jobs, finds a report.

As of May 2023, the industry had about 40,000 open opportunities, indicating the growing demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals. However, the demand-supply gap stood at 30 per cent, projecting a major skill challenge in the industry, finds the study by tech staffing firm TeamLease.

The report further says Indian organizations experienced over 2,000 weekly attacks in Q1 2023, marking an 18 per cent increase compared to the previous year. The healthcare industry was a prime target, with 7.7 per cent of attacks directed towards it. The global weekly cyber-attacks have increased by 7 per cent to surpass 1,200 attacks per week.

According to the report, India’s cybersecurity workforce stood at around 0.3 million in 2023, up from 0.21 million in 2022, and 0.1 million in 2021. This compares to the global workforce of some 4.7 million cybersecurity professionals. There is a similar discrepancy when it comes to cybersecurity revenues, with India forming estimated revenue of $2.50 billion out of global revenue of $222 billion.

The staffing firm has projected India’s cybersecurity market share to reach $3.5 billion by 2027, with an expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.05 per cent.

Sunil Chemmankotil, Chief Executive Officer, TeamLease Digital, said there was “an urgent need for upskilling the workforce and hiring qualified professionals.”

“As India Inc. embraces digital infrastructures, the heightened vulnerability to cyber threats necessitates proactive measures. The prevalence of malware attacks, social engineering tactics, and other sophisticated cyber threats demand a comprehensive approach to safeguarding our digital frontiers,” Chemmankotil said.

Specializations in areas such as data privacy, cloud security, AI security, and network security are in high demand. Soft skills such as problem-solving, communication, teamwork, and collaboration are also essential in this field, as per the staffing firm.

The top job roles identified in the research study include IT auditor, information security analyst, network/IT security engineer/specialist, security testing/penetration tester, and computer forensics analyst, with a base pay ranging from 3 to 6 lakhs for 0-3 years of experience. Moreover, senior and mid-level professionals with over 12 years of experience have the potential to earn an annual salary within the range of 50-80 Lakhs.

As per the survey of TeamLease, 73 per cent of employers find cybersecurity an extremely important domain. IT security training (42%), firewall & network protection (37 per cent), and cyber insurance (16 per cent) were the most important areas for the employers.

Around 42 per cent of organisations feel a targeted cyber attack is a major security risk. 26 per cent believe compromised personal information is the biggest risk, while 21 per cent find hacking of cloud-based services as the most important security risk.    

For employees, network security was the most interesting area to work in, followed by risk assessment, penetration testing, and incident response. 

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First Published: Jun 21 2023 | 2:27 PM IST

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