Millennials key to worldwide cyber security workforce shortage, says new study

BY Fraser Tennant

A severe shortage of talent in the information security workforce is looming, with employers needing to look to millennials to fill the gap, according to new research from the Center for Cyber Safety and Education, published this week.

The research, part of the Centre’s eighth Global Information Security Workforce Study (GISWS), which includes feedback from over 19,000 information security professionals worldwide, indicates that employers must look to millennials to fill the projected 1.8 million information security workforce gap that is estimated to exist by 2022. This is a 20 percent rise from the 1.5 million worker shortfall forecast by the GISWS in 2015.

The publication of the GISWS coincides with a major initiative to tackle the UK skills deficit due to a lack of millennials recruited into the field: the National Cyber Security Centre, which was officially opened this week in London.

"Supporting and developing the next generation of cyber security talent is essential to the future of the industry,” said Richard Horne, cyber security partner at PwC. “We are on track to recruit more than 1000 technology specialists over the next four years at both graduate and experienced levels. It is important to help graduates experience the many different paths a career in this field could follow by offering a rotation programme around our teams, ranging from threat intelligence and incident detection and response to security transformation programmes and legal and regulatory compliance.”

The 2017 GISWS features a series of reports and analyses focusing on millennial respondents, with key takeaways for employers and hiring managers as to how they should go about attracting and retaining the millennial workforce. These include: (i) millennials value career development opportunities and are more likely to pay for them, if not offered by their employers; (ii) they are more likely to aspire to become security consultants than move into managerial roles within an organisation; and (iii) salaries were not the highest priority for millennials, but they do receive higher salary increases than other generations.

Mr Horne continued: “Cyber security roles can often be seen as purely technical but today's well-rounded cyber security expert has a diverse skillset, with not only technical knowledge but also wider business skills like creativity, organisation, relationship-building and communication."

With addressing the impending information security workforce shortage clearly a major concern, David Shearer, chief executive of the Center for Cyber Safety and Education, is confident that millennials “are the future of cyber security and hold the key to filling the information security workforce gap".

Report: Meet the Millennials – the Next Generation of your Information Security Workforce

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