Demand for United States cybersecurity jobs increased by 43% year-over-year through April 2022. That compares to the nearly 18% increase in hiring across the entire employment market. According to new data from CyberSeek, a joint initiative between the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), and led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the U.S. Department of Commerce, almost 40%of the jobs postings were listed in the first four months.

According to the research, demand has sped up as more public and private sector organizations look to strengthen defenses against a multitude of threats.

“The growth of job openings and steady increases of people employed in cybersecurity-related roles is an indication that cybersecurity is becoming more important and urgent for enterprises as they protect their organizations and consumers from risks precipitated by the increase in remote workers, supply chain concerns and world events,” said Rodney Petersen, Director of NICE, which is led by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.

“It also presents an opportunity to diversify the cybersecurity workforce and double-down on efforts to support underserved communities,” Petersen continued. “A career in cybersecurity presents Americans with a good job that exceeds the local prevailing wage, includes basic benefits and develops skills and experiences necessary to advance along a career path.”

Hot Job Markets

The supply-demand ratio for cybersecurity workers nationwide is currently at 66%, which means that there are now approximately 66 workers for every job opening. That ratio is even more pronounced in several metropolitan areas including Washington, D.C., where the supply-demand ratio is at 59%, while the ratio in the Dallas metro area is 53%. Dallas currently has the highest number of job postings among all metro areas, and the fourth-highest total among all states and metro markets, behind only California, Texas, and Virginia.

Despite the fact that there are now more workers for every job, some employers will continue to have difficulty finding talent.

“There is a growing demand for all cyber security roles, but software engineer positions seem to be the most difficult to fill. It’s not surprising as they require deeper technical expertise,” said Sean Heritage, a retired naval officer and cryptologist, and now director of operations at the cybersecurity research firm Horizon3.ai.

“Filling cyber security positions will continue to be a challenge and some of that is self-inflicted,” Heritage told ClearanceJobs. “Too many positions claim to require a bachelor’s or master’s degree. The applicant pool would certainly grow if more companies moved away from a degree requirement.”

Worker Shortage

As the hiring increases, the worker shortage could become even more significant.

Chloé Messdaghi, chief impact officer at Cybrary, a firm that provides cybersecurity training and development, suggested that there isn’t even a single career path that is now in demand.

“All areas of cyber talent have major shortages, and these shortages were made worse by the pandemic,” she told ClearanceJobs. “Talent is in short supply for every role on the spectrum, from developing new products for defense, all the way to forensic analysts. Red teams, blue teams, you name it, the world needs it.”

Even as the world settles into a new normal this year, the talent pool is far from filled. This isn’t likely to be good news for employers in 2022, and even into next year.

“It will absolutely be a forever challenge until we fix the revolving door, which arises due to skills shortages, gate-keeping, over-reliance on limited staffs, and burnout,” warned Messdaghi. “It’s important to remember that if we don’t invest in our people, they won’t stay with us. Companies are worried that if they invest in security teams, the talent will leave and the company will immediately lose their investment – in my entire career, I haven’t seen that.”

Companies that don’t support their cybersecurity teams risk losing them.

“The top reason for a cybersecurity pro leaving their job for greener pastures is a lack of caring from the organization, not work overload,” said Messdaghi.

She continued. “If someone needs to acquire skills, they shouldn’t have to face budget struggles to do so. Also, upskilling needs to be adaptive to people’s real lives – with on-demand, interactive learning. This is proven to drive incredibly fast skill acquisition.”

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Peter Suciu is a freelance writer who covers business technology and cyber security. He currently lives in Michigan and can be reached at petersuciu@gmail.com.