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Google Search – An Unexpected Ally in the Fight to Close the Cybersecurity Talent Gap

We’ve seen a lot in the news about the cybersecurity talent gap.  And it’s not good news for most companies – no matter their size.  Two recent data points that make the point:

  • According to the Cybersecurity Workforce Study from ISC2, a nonprofit organization for cybersecurity professionals, the gap between the number of skilled cybersecurity staffers needed and the number available has risen 13% year over year worldwide.  
  • A recent Gartner analysis reported that by 2025 – just next year - half of all cybersecurity incidents will occur because of “a lack of talent or human failure.”1  

Expanding recruitment channels to target typically underrepresented demographic groups – like women and Black, Asian, and Hispanic professionals - is one key strategy to reduce the gap; the lack of diversity in cybersecurity is cited as one of the 5 key causes of the skills shortage.2

So, I was a bit surprised when doing a Google search on “cybersecurity professionals” to find data on the current demographics of today’s cyber workforce.  I expected to see a bunch of white men in various poses working together to fight hordes of bad actors.  

Nope.  Not what I saw.  

The first set of Google Search images – or visual representations of people working in the field - appeared to reflect an already very diverse group, including an abundance of women and various ethnic groups huddled around computers – or standing vigil in vast server rooms.    

I scrolled down further.  Same thing.

I started counting and categorizing what I was seeing. For the top 100 images that resulted from my “cybersecurity professionals” search.  I tagged each image by gender, ethnicity, and other characteristics that help to define a work environment, i.e., were people working from home or an office – and were they working as individual contributors or collaborating in groups?  

My objective: Just how different are online cybersecurity demographics from offline reality?

My conclusion: The visual gap in Google Search is just as wide as the talent gap making media headlines.  

VikingCloud documented our research in a new white paper entitled Closing the Talent Gap: A Visual Analytics Impact Study of Cybersecurity Professionals’ Online Imagery in Google Search.  Spoiler alert: Black cybersecurity professionals are significantly overrepresented on Google Search by nearly a factor of 3x.  While currently only 9% of the cyber workforce, they are 26% of the Google Search image results.  

Why does this matter?  Because Google is the #1 job search destination. 70% of all job searches, including those for cybersecurity professionals, start on Google - over 150 million job searches every month.3

What they show matters.

We don’t know how long Google has been an unexpected ally in the fight to close our industry’s talent gap by putting out a virtual “Welcome” sign to prospective candidates, but our analysis also shows just how far we have to go.  

VikingCloud partnered with an AI-powered recruitment start-up to see whether the Google helping hand was in fact helping to expand the demographics of groups traditionally entering the cybersecurity search pipeline.  

Read our white paper to find out the answer.  Hint: the demographic talent gap is even wider than we expected.

Check out this bit of unorthodox analytics and perspective on the cybersecurity talent gap – and insight into how one unexpected ally is helping fight the good fight to get the resources in place to stop cyber threats before they stop business.  

Disclaimer: Google and Google Search are the trademarks of Google LLC and this blog and referenced white paper are not endorsed by or affiliated with Google in any way.


1 Growing threats outpace cybersecurity workforce (

2 Cybersecurity needs a more diverse and inclusive workforce (

3 What Percentage Of Job Searches Start On Google? (



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Andrea Sugden
Chief Sales and Customer Relationship Officer

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