While most respondents in a multi-country survey on recession trends foresaw layoffs ahead, cybersecurity/IT talent were seen as highly marketable

In a survey of 1,000 business executives in December 2022 from Germany (200), Japan (200), Singapore (200), the US (200) and the UK (200) to assess the impact of a potential economic downturn on cybersecurity teams, 85% of respondents indicated their belief that layoffs may be necessary this year, but only 10% “were likely” to see cuts in their cybersecurity teams, compared to 30% for HR, 24% for Finance, 24% for Operations, 22% for marketing, and 22% for sales.

Respondents were pre-screened to include only non-tech/security C-suite professionals, hailing from organizations with a cybersecurity team of at least two employees and anticipating economic challenges in 2023.

Data from the survey showed that C-suite respondents viewed cybersecurity as an essential, valuable asset that is a strategic priority, and in general, 87% of respondents believed that a reduction in cybersecurity staff would lead to greater risks of cyberattacks. They also recognized the challenges associated with building cybersecurity teams when such skilled workers were in short supply.

Other statistics

Data for the region was limited to those from respondents in Japan and Singapore.

    • At least 90% of participants from all countries represented in the survey indicated they had increased cybersecurity hiring in the last two to three years. The only exception was Germany, where 78% of participants cited increased hiring over the same period. For Singapore and Japan, over the past two to three years, 98% and 90% of respondents respectively indicated they had increased cybersecurity staffing.
    • Compared to the global average of 74%, 72% of Japan respondents and 88% of Singapore respondents indicated that they were “likely to” recruit cybersecurity talent that may be or have been impacted by layoffs at other companies in 2023.
    • 86% of Singapore respondents and 85% of Japan respondents believed that cybersecurity threats would rise as a result of worsening economic conditions in 2023 (versus 80% globally).
    • 96% and 88% of Singapore and Japan respondents respectively, indicated they believed that reducing cybersecurity staff strength increases risks for their organization.
    • Respondents prioritized types of job roles for hiring or rehiring in a recession as follows: Cybersecurity (51%), IT (49%), R&D (41%), Marketing (35%), Finance (34%), Operations (31%), Sales (30%) and HR (29%).

According to Clar Rosso, CEO, (ISC)², which conducted the survey: “A key test for (business) executives in 2023 will be their ability to sustain their commitment toward strengthening their organizations’ resilience against evolving cyber threats amid emerging budgetary pressures.”