In October 2021, Microsoft announced a cybersecurity skills campaign to help more people get careers in the field. The IT giant has revealed that the program will be expanded to 23 other nations.

Microsoft will invest in countries with a high cyber threat risk and a cybersecurity workforce shortage. Plans include using LinkedIn Learning to provide materials, educating instructors in the field, and assisting marginalized and diversified job hunters.

Microsoft claims that by 2025, there will be 3.5 million cybersecurity positions available throughout the world, according to a blog post announcing the news.

23 countries included

There would be a 350% surge in job opportunities over an eight-year timeframe if true. The tech giant’s increased effort should help fill some of those jobs with suitable candidates. The countries on the list include:

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Colombia
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • South Africa
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom

Microsoft will focus on growing diversity among cybersecurity personnel in the new locations, much as it did in the US. In the 23 nations participating in the expansion, women make up 17% of the cybersecurity workforce.

The efforts to defend against attacks

Kate Behncken, the vice president and head of Microsoft Philanthropies, said that leaving women out of the cybersecurity workforce leaves talent on the table and will only cripple the effort to close the skills gap.

She added that this is not just about equality, as there is a clear business case to be made, supported by the fact that gender-diverse businesses perform pretty well.

Microsoft is also working with 135 community colleges as part of its US cybersecurity skills campaign by providing access to free curricula alongside grants and scholarships.