Global IT security skills shortages have now surpassed four million, according to (ISC)2.
The certifications organization compiled its latest Cybersecurity Workforce Study from interviews with over 3200 security professionals around the world.
The number of unfilled positions now stands at 4.07 million professionals, up from 2.93 million this time last year. This includes 561,000 in North America and a staggering 2.6 million shortfall in APAC.
The shortage of skilled workers in the industry in Europe has soared by more than 100% over the same period, from 142,000 to 291,000.
The report estimated the current global workforce at 2.93 million, including 289,000 in the UK and 805,000 in the US.
Nearly two-thirds (65%) of responding organizations reported a shortage of cybersecurity staff, with a lack of skilled or experienced security personnel their number one workplace concern (36%).
(ISC)2 claimed the global security workforce needs to increase by a staggering 145% to cope with a surge in hiring demand. In Europe, this has come particularly in smaller companies with one-99 employees, as well as those with over 500 employees.
Unsurprisingly, over half (51%) of cybersecurity professionals said their organization is at moderate or extreme risk due to staff shortages.
The report pointed to four key strategies to help organizations tackle such shortages. These include in-house training and development and setting applicant qualification requirements at the right level to ensure as wide a net as possible is cast.
(ISC)2 also stressed the need to attract new workers from other professions, or recent graduates with tangential degrees, as well as seasoned professionals from consulting and contracting sectors. Finally, organizations should look to strengthen from within by cross-training existing IT professionals where appropriate.