Cybersecurity layoffs in 2023: What to expect?

The economic downturn predicted for 2023 will lead to layoffs but cybersecurity workers will be least affected, says the latest (ISC)² report. Also, as soon as things get better, they will likely be the first ones to get (re)hired.

Execs have realized the importance of cybersecurity

There have been massive layoffs by tech and other companies in the last few months.

In December 2022, (ISC)² polled 1,000 C-suite executives from Germany, Japan, Singapore, the UK and the US about whether they expect their own companies to follow suit if a global recession occurs in 2023. 85% of the respondents said that layoffs will be necessary if that happens.

That percentage varies depending on specific countries. For example, 99% of Singapore-based executives said staff reductions are very or somewhat likely, while 63% of Germany-based ones said the same.

“Asked to rank business functions most likely be involved in a first round of layoffs, 31% of respondents cited cybersecurity as the least likely to be impacted. In comparison, a far higher number of respondents ranked HR (44%), sales (41%) and operations (40%) higher for likely job cuts,” (ISC)² noted.

When asked why are cybersecurity roles less likely to be on the chopping block, respondents’ answers included:

  • A bad economy = more people out for work = increase in cybercrime / rise of cybersecurity threats
  • We can’t risk getting breached, cybersecurity is critical for the functioning and prosperity of our business

Factors playing a role in potential 2023 cybersecurity layoffs

Judging by the respondents’ answers, junior cybersecurity staff is more likely (63%) to get the axe than senior team members (41%), managers (29%) and cybersecurity executives (21%).

And when executives evaluate who will be laid off, job performance will be the most important factor (50%), followed by expertise/skill set (49%), skill redundancy (43%), diversity/team composition (37%), and salary (30%).

But cybersecurity workers will also be among the first ones to get (re)hired again once the exonomic situation improves, followed by IT and R&D workers.

Another reason why cybersecurity workers are the least likely to be made redundant is executives’ awareness of how difficult it is to recruit skilled cybersecurity professionals because of a global cybersecurity skills shortage. In fact, if the opportunity arises, many of them (74%) are open to recruiting laid off cybersecurity talent.

cybersecurity layoffs 2023

“The importance placed on cybersecurity professionals, even during uncertain economic times, suggests that top executives understand the critical need for a strong cybersecurity team now more than ever,” commented Clar Rosso, (ISC)² CEO.

“This is not surprising given the upward trend in recent years where a weakening economy combined with political tensions has led to increased cyber threats. A key test for executives in 2023 will be their ability to sustain their commitment toward strengthening their organizations’ resilience against evolving cyberthreats amid emerging budgetary pressures.”

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