In the Indian financial services industry, cybersecurity ranks among the top three crucial segments. However, there’s a notable gap between the industry’s needs and the availability of skilled professionals. Companies seek experienced individuals, yet Indian universities haven’t produced enough skilled professionals to meet industry demands.
“The Indian curriculum is more focused on AI, ML, and other data science courses but not cybersecurity,” said Abhik Chatterjee at Boston Consulting Group, which advises top banks in the country. “There are very few Indian colleges that offer good, practical, heavy cybersecurity courses. This is why a graduate from India is at a disadvantage when compared to a person who has graduated from a foreign university.”
Banks and insurers are increasing their cybersecurity departments due to a growing number of cyber attacks. Despite job openings, there’s a shortage of experienced candidates. Currently, there are approximately 10,000-12,000 active cybersecurity-related job positions in the Indian BFSI sector, according to Sachin Alug, CEO of NLB Services, a human resources company.
“We are actively looking for cybersecurity experts to join our team, but we need people with at least three to four years of experience,” said Ajay Kumar Srivastava, CEO of Indian Overseas Bank.
Numerous banks are actively seeking cybersecurity experts, but finding suitable candidates has proven challenging.
“Demand for cybersecurity professionals in India is around 35,000-40,000 across all sectors. The availability of skilled talent in this domain continues to be a big challenge,” said Alug.
While young graduates showcase their skills in hackathons, they often face uncertainty about pursuing a career in their desired field.
“I have shown my skills with my participation in hackathons but still finding it tough to convince companies to hire me,” said Upmanyu Jha, a recent graduate from Mumbai. “When you go abroad, you are hired based on skill and not experience.”
Companies, particularly banks, exercise caution in hiring cybersecurity talent due to the sensitive nature of the data involved.
“Companies want someone who can handle anything, and they are well paid. Salaries can range around 25 lakh per annum for someone with eight years of experience,” said Krishna Vij of TeamLease Services. “Junior roles are limited, and there is a gap between what companies want and what universities produce.”
Despite this, companies are offering hope by hiring candidates with potential, even if they have limited experience.
“Surprisingly, some junior employees are finding critical faults in the network, hence we as a company don’t really ask for experience,” said Ashish Tandon, CEO of IndusFace, a firm that provides network security.