Cybersecurity professionals in high demand despite hiring freeze
Demand for cybersecurity and privacy professionals hasn’t dropped as much as that in other job functions, according to experts, as some segments of tech hiring start showing signs of slowing down.
There are currently 18,000 active cybersecurity-related job openings in India, according to estimates, even as availability of skilled people in this domain continues to be a big challenge.
According to specialist staffing firm Xpheno, application security, threat management, VAPT and cloud security are the skills that are most in demand at present.
According to Xpheno data, incident response, threat intelligence and cloud security have seen the fastest growth in the past year. The volume of active accessible talent in the cybersecurity and privacy space has grown by over 40% over the last two years.
Salary packages too have gone up by nearly 40% in the last two years, in line with the increasing demand. Depending on the experience level and skill sets, packages range from Rs 5-8 lakh to Rs 42 lakhs for top talent.
“Given the hiring winter and recession-linked slowdown, the current hiring action for cybersecurity & privacy roles has moderated by 18% in comparison to the closing quarter of 2022,” said Prasadh MS, head of workforce research at Xpheno. But, given the overall drop in hiring action in tech, this drop is on the lower end and shows that talent demand in this sector remains positive irrespective of cycles of business, “as business remains digital and cyber dependency multiplies every year”, he said.
A recent report by ISACA, an international professional association focused on IT governance, found that over 70% of Indian respondents expected demand for privacy roles growing within their organisation in the next year, similar to what’s happening globally. However, the lack of competent resources was a challenge in devising an effective privacy program.
Technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning are data hungry, said RV Raghu, ISACA Ambassador of India. “This has led to widespread concern relating to privacy and how the lack of privacy might eventually impact trust in the digital world, translating into a spike in demand for privacy professionals.”
However, the challenge around the lack of skilled professionals remains. The ISACA survey found skill gaps in professionals among the biggest challenges, along with experience in different types of technologies and applications.
“In my perspective, however, it is alarming to note that lack of business ethics (28%), and lack of soft skills (communication, flexibility and leadership) (27%) are other key skill gaps lacking in privacy professionals’ hires,” said Raghu.
Beyond just possessing the required skills, the nature of the job is such that it requires professionals to understand the privacy implications of using a specific technology and how that fits in with the business, which makes it more challenging to find the right talent.
Raghu suggests enterprises use a multi-pronged approach to training to address internal privacy skill gaps and adopt a privacy by design paradigm.