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The cyber security workforce needs to grow 145 percent to close the skills gap and better defend organizations worldwide against threats, according to a new report from (ISC)², a non-profit association of security professionals.

The study estimates the current cyber security workforce at 2.8 million professionals, and said the additional trained staff needed to close the skills gap is 4.07 million professionals.

In the U.S. market, the current cyber security workforce is about 804,700 and the shortage of skilled professionals is 498,480, requiring an increase of just 62 percent to better defend U.S. organizations.

“Knowing where we stand and the delta that needs to be filled is a powerful step along the pathway to overcoming our industry’s staffing challenges,” said Wesley Simpson, COO of (ISC)².

The study is based on online survey of 3,237 individuals responsible for security/cyber security throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia-Pacific, and said 65 percent of organizations report a shortage of cyber security staff. A lack of skilled/experienced cyber security personnel is the top job concern among 36 percent of respondents.

Two thirds of the respondents (66 percent) report that they are either somewhat satisfied (37 percent) or very satisfied (29 percent) in their jobs; and 65 percent intend to work in cyber security for their entire careers.

About two thirds of organizations with more than 500 employees have a CISO, but that number drops to 50 percent among smaller organizations.

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