The world needs more cybersecurity experts. Here is the proof.

We have had a serious spate of high-profile cybersecurity breaches this year.

Just on Wednesday last week, TalkTalk was hacked. Almost a week later, the telecom group continues to face a ginormous amount of heat from the media, customers and business partners for not having in place the appropriate countermeasures to fend off cyber attackers.

In fact, the TalkTalk hit has sparked off some serious discussion on the state of security, with the CEO warning other firms of a “cybersecurity arms race.”

Everyone is nervous. Even insurance companies are upping the costs of cybersecurity coverage.

The one silver lining is that businesses are recognising the need to improve their defenses, which means that security software vendors and experts in cybersecurity are likely to face an increase in demand.

But, a recent report from Raytheon, entitled Securing Our Future: Closing the Cyber Talent Gap shows that companies around the globe are having trouble finding “well-qualified young adults” to fill the cybersecurity gap. The report is based on a survey of almost 4000 young adults, aged 18-26, from around the world.

Working with the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), Raytheon published this report during National Cyber Security Month to help raise awareness of the growing need for cybersecurity professionals.

This point from the report that underlines its raison d’etre:

In the U.S. alone, companies posted 49,493 jobs requiring CISSP certification last year, however, there are only 65,362 CISSP holders, the majority of whom are already employed.1 This talent gap has serious implications for domestic and international economics and security and must be addressed.

A few top highlights from the report: 

  • A main beef is about awareness of cybersecurity as a profession. 62% of those surveyed said that “no teacher, guidance counselor or supervisory adult ever mentioned the career field to them, and it becomes clear why young adults are not considering cybersecurity careers.”
  • Almost 2 out of 5 of the millennials that took part in the survey say “they have already participated in or sought out competitions, internships, scholarships, job fairs or mentoring programs related to cybersecurity.” 50% say that employer’s mission is important to them, and 63% say that salary is important. The good news here is that careers in cybersecurity can meet both these requirements more easily than many other options available to young adults.
  • 38% of those surveyed want more information about what a cyber career entails. The reports asks, “how do we engage millennials so a career in cybersecurity isn’t a foreign concept to them?”

​On this last point, I can safely say there is a lot that we can do, aside from pushing educational institutions to up their game in this area.

From offering schools a chance to meet a real life cybersecurity expert, to hosting internships at your security firm, to launching competitions to find bright young minds suited to this career choice are just a few of the options open to us all.

The other plus is that it is great CSR work. So it is a win-win. Think about having a chat with your HR director on how you can improve the future for the industry and the lives of young adults who have yet to see how productive a career in cybersecurity can be.

B2B media executive with an unusually broad and international range of experience in both the editorial and commercial aspects of publishing, social media and events. I write a range of content types on technical subjects in wholesale finance and IT and have interviewed senior figures from the public and private sector globally for many years.

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