Today’s exponential growth of the Internet is providing opportunity for malicious actors and exposing organizations to greater risks of loss in business continuity, brand reputation and intellectual property. The consequences of inaction are too severe, causing businesses and governments around the globe to hire in the thousands for cybersecurity positions.
62 percent of organizations worldwide need more cybersecurity professionals at a time when the global cybersecurity talent gap is widening. Employers are looking towards young adults — a generation raised behind a keyboard — as a prime piece of the solution. That’s why Raytheon has partnered with the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) to commission the Securing the Future: Closing the Cyber Talent Gap survey of young adults ages 18 to 26 in 12 countries around the world. This year’s survey is an extension of our collaboration over the past two years to survey American millennials.
The results told us that millennials have a low awareness of cybersecurity career opportunities. For example, 62 percent of millennials worldwide indicated that no high school or secondary school teacher or guidance counselor had ever mentioned the career field to them. That’s not to say that millennials aren’t interested. More than one in four (28 percent) said they are more likely to choose a career to make the Internet safer now than a year ago, and the same percentage indicated an interest in meeting cybersecurity professionals to better understand what the job entails. It is also promising that 38 percent said they are interested in taking classes or learning more about cybersecurity careers.
Millennials may not even be aware that they have an affinity for cyber careers given their interest in related skills, such as problem solving (44 percent), data analysis (36 percent) and software programming (27 percent). Many of them just don’t know that these skills apply to cyber — so here’s yet another opportunity for us to increase the world’s cyber defense talent pool. Our challenge is to connect young people’s interest and cultivate their learning about cyber careers that will be personally satisfying and strengthen global economics and security.
To say the task at hand is important is an understatement, but to say it’s impossible is a falsehood. We’ve taken the necessary first steps in our survey to better understand the issues and identified opportunities. The next step is getting the world’s businesses, governments and education systems to coordinate a holistic approach toward a common goal — a safe Internet for all.
Want to learn more about our insights into millennials’ preparedness to close the cyber talent gap? Visit us at www.RaytheonCyber.com/TalentGap.
About the Author
Jeff Jacoby is director of Centers of Innovation for Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services, which provides cybersecurity and advanced intelligence solutions that strengthen critical infrastructures, information systems and missions worldwide.