Cyber talent shortage means big career opportunities for millennials
At long last, there's hope for filling the cyber talent gap.
The headlines help young adults to connect the dots: Cyber attacks are proliferating. Cybersecurity is of critical importance to society. Someone has to hold the line. So millennials are becoming more interested in cyber careers, according to "Securing Our Future: Closing the Cybersecurity Talent Gap," a global survey commissioned by Raytheon in partnership with the National Cyber Security Alliance.
That awareness couldn’t come at a better time. Last year, about one million cybersecurity job openings went unfilled around the world, according to a report from Cisco Security Advisory Services.
The most encouraging sign from the Raytheon survey — conducted among individuals aged 18–26 in 12 countries — was that 37 percent of young adults said they were now more likely to consider a cybersecurity career than they were a year before. The overwhelming majority also would prefer high-paying jobs at organizations they believe in, and that involve a variety of skill sets; problem-solving, data analysis and communications, all benefits found in a cyber career.
Now the challenge is to get young adults to test the waters, talking to educators, participating in cyber competitions or even just meeting and talking to a cyber professional.
The survey revealed that young adults are not just aware of cybersecurity, but are beginning to consider cyber issues when it comes to the voting booth. In the U.S., 53 percent of millennials said that a candidate’s position on cybersecurity would influence their support, and 51 percent said that cybersecurity did not have a high enough profile in the U.S. elections.
Unfortunately, the survey results also showed a widening gender gap across the board, with less knowledge of and exposure to cyber careers among women than men. More men understood what cybersecurity professionals do, but the number of women with that knowledge remained flat. Additionally, women (38 percent) are more likely than men (25 percent) to believe that no cybersecurity programs or activities are available to them.
The barrage of cyber attacks and the prospect for more ahead are among the top challenges facing leaders in business and government today. With continued encouragement from employers and educators, today’s youth can become the cyber leaders of tomorrow.
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