Microsoft to address cybersecurity skills dearth with quarter million new jobs

Microsoft hopes to add 250,000 jobs over the next four years to fill up the lack of cybersecurity professionals in the country.
29 October 2021

For technology and social enthusiasts, jobs at giants like Microsoft, Google, IBM and Facebook are highly sought-after. Yet, many don’t realize that the same or similar skills can also be applied in what other digital-native companies do, often offering similar packages. Despite this, there is still a big dearth of available skills for tech-related jobs.

As such, a host of big tech companies have been announcing job campaigns in the last few weeks. While Google and IBM are focused on training and upskilling millions in the tech workforce by 2030, Facebook is looking to build its Metaverse empire with 10,000 job offers in the EU.

Microsoft is taking a different job approach. The company is launching a national campaign with US community colleges to help skill and recruit 250,000 people by 2025 into the cybersecurity workforce. The amount represents half of the country’s workforce shortage.

Cyberattacks are rising sharply, especially with state-sponsored hackers and malware targeting US companies and supply chains, the tech behemoth felt the shortage of cybersecurity skills needed to be solved in order to deal with this. According to Brad Smith, Microsoft president and vice-chair, tech companies are responsible to address cybersecurity threats, which is also why they have increased cybersecurity investments and broadened efforts, working closely with government and business leaders across the country.

Earlier this year, Microsoft committed $20 billion over five years to advance our security solutions and protect customers, as well as US$150 million to help US government agencies upgrade protections, and expand our cybersecurity training partnerships. They continue to innovate and bring new solutions to customers and individuals around the globe like passwordless login, identity management, endpoint security, and more.

Smith pointed out that for almost every two cybersecurity positions filled in the United States currently, a third job sits vacant because of a shortage of skilled talent. There are 464,200 open jobs in the United States that require cybersecurity skills, accounting for 6% of all open jobs in the country.

“More than one out of every 20 open jobs in America today is a job that requires cybersecurity skills. And every projection shows that the number of these jobs will grow even more in the years ahead,” said Smith in a blog post.

Microsoft jobs

(Source – Microsoft)

As such, Microsoft’s four-year campaign to help fill 250,000 cybersecurity jobs in the United States by the middle of this decade, will address half of the nation’s cybersecurity workforce shortage. Microsoft’s initial commitment will:

  • make curriculums available free of charge to all of the nation’s public community colleges;
  • provide training for new and existing faculty at 150 community colleges; and
  • provide scholarships and supplemental resources to 25,000 students.

“We believe the steps we’re taking today can make an important contribution to addressing America’s cybersecurity workforce shortage. But we also know that much more is needed. That’s why we are thinking about this effort as not just a program, but a campaign.

“Building on our Microsoft Skills for Jobs global initiative, this new campaign can grow quickly to involve more companies, more nonprofits, and governments at the federal, state, and local levels. With additional volunteers from other companies and added financial resources, we can scale even farther to reach our full national needs,” explained Smith.

Smith added that ultimately, the whole campaign is about getting out and making the case to people across the country to consider the opportunity to pursue a cybersecurity career. This also includes creating a more diverse cybersecurity workforce.

“Great jobs are waiting to be filled. Now we need to recruit the talent and provide the skills that people need,” concluded Smith. As Microsoft looks to plug cybersecurity employment gaps, other tech players will also be hoping their upskilling and reskilling job campaigns will be able to make a difference to critical digital sectors and solve the escalating tech skills shortage problem longer term.