Press Release

VikingCloud Research Highlights Google Search’s Unexpected Role in Closing the Cybersecurity Talent Gap

The #1 Job Search Destination’s Overrepresentation of Women and Minority Professionals Supports Industry Initiative to Expand Recruitment Targets, but Challenges Remain


Chicago, IL and Dublin, Ireland  – May 1, 2024 – VikingCloud, the leading predict-to-prevent cybersecurity and compliance company, today released new research that shows a significant gap between the aspirational depiction of cybersecurity professionals’ gender and minority status in online image search results versus reality as organizations experiment with new strategies to expand recruiting targets to close the cybersecurity talent gap – which is now estimated at 4 million professionals worldwide.


“An alarming 85% of cybersecurity professionals believe that the workforce shortage is negatively impacting their ability to secure critical network infrastructure,” said Kevin Pierce, chief product officer at VikingCloud. “To help close the talent gap, businesses are expanding recruiting channels to target typically underrepresented groups, including women, and Black, Hispanic, and Asian professionals. They appear to be getting an unexpected helping hand from Google Search to support a more inclusive recruitment strategy.”  


Seventy percent of job searches start on Google, making it the number one recruiting source and a key influencer for industry education, company information, and job postings. When comparing the top 100 Google Search image results for the keyword “Cybersecurity Professional,” the research showed a significantly higher overrepresentation of women and minority (Black, Hispanic, and Asian) cybersecurity professionals, +48% and +65%, respectively, than actual national benchmarks, among other findings.


VikingCloud’s white paper – Closing the Talent Gap: A Visual Analytics Impact Study of Cybersecurity Professionals’ Online Imagery in Google Search – discovered that Google Search images frequently depict an aspirational cyber workforce with:

  • More Women, but Not as Individual Contributors: While women make up 25% of the current cybersecurity workforce, Google search images represent female professionals 1.48x higher than national levels. However, women are disproportionately depicted as just being part of the crowd – shown in groups of colleagues – rather than as independent contributors.
  • More Diverse Professionals: Underrepresented groups – including Black, Asian, and Hispanic professionals – make up 21% of today’s cybersecurity workforce but are generally represented in the image sample at 1.65x the national average. Interestingly, Black professionals are shown at nearly 3x the national average, while Asian cyber workers are underrepresented by over 50%.
  • Older Men (35+) vs. Younger Women (34 or Below): Overall, Google accurately reflects the age demographics of today’s cybersecurity professionals, focusing on workers 35 and older. However, women are 1.47x more likely to be depicted as 19-34 vs. 35+ due to an industry trend that 50% of women who take a tech role leave it before age 35.
  • In-Office Work Settings: Nearly 100% of all Google search images where worker location can be identified are in an office setting vs. a remote setting. This aligns with the industry’s post-pandemic reality – 100% of sampled job postings in 2023 and 2024 required office-based work.

While visual representation is designed to attract diverse talent and expand the recruitment pool needed to bridge the cybersecurity industry’s talent deficit, it may not be a quick fix. VikingCloud partnered with TalentEdge AI, an AI-powered candidate sourcing technology and talent solutions provider, to provide demographic insight on the most active profiles in its cybersecurity professional sourcing database. The analysis identified a high incidence of men – 82% – which is 1.3x higher than in Google Search images, and nearly 1.1x higher than the industry benchmark of 75%.


“Google Search’s current aspirational depiction of the industry should serve as a much needed ‘welcome sign’ to more new talent than ever – even if our analysis highlights continued challenges for recruiting beyond traditional candidates. As hiring companies, we must also be prepared for what happens when new talent finds a very different work environment than what’s depicted during their search process,” said Pierce. “There’s still work left to be done to close the ever-growing cybersecurity talent gap, but unexpected efforts from Google and new strategies to grow our pipelines are encouraging.”


See the full Closing the Talent Gap: A Visual Analytics Impact Study of Cybersecurity Professionals’ Online Imagery in Google Search.

About VikingCloud

VikingCloud is the leading Predict-to-Prevent cybersecurity and compliance company, offering businesses a single, integrated solution to make informed, predictive, and cost-effective risk mitigation decisions – faster. Powered by the Asgard Platform™, the industry’s largest repository of anonymized cybersecurity and compliance event data, we continuously monitor and analyze over 6+ billion online events every day.

VikingCloud is the one-stop partner trusted by 4+ million customers to provide the predictive intelligence and competitive edge they need to stay one step ahead of cybersecurity and compliance disruptions to their business. Our 1,000 dedicated cybersecurity and compliance expert advisors understand that it’s not just about technology. It’s about transacting business and delivering an exceptional customer experience every day, without fail. That’s the measurable value we deliver. And that’s what we call, Business Uninterrupted.

Click here to learn more about VikingCloud.

The # 1 Job Search Destination’s Overrepresentation of Women and Minority Professionals Supports Industry Initiative to Expand Recruitment Targets, but Challenges Remain



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