New research released today from ThreatX, the leading API and application protection platform, reveals that consumers believe today’s cybersecurity talent shortage is in large part due to limited exposure to the profession and a lack of cybersecurity education and training at a younger age within school systems. 90% of consumers polled say they have concerns about the future of cybersecurity if more isn’t done at an earlier stage to expose students to the field, and 62% agree that if they or their child had more established education around cybersecurity in school, including courses, clubs, and access to STEM programs, they would have considered entering the cybersecurity field.
ThreatX surveyed 2,000 consumers across the US and UK to examine how they feel about today’s cybersecurity talent shortage, their outlooks and concerns for the future if this trend continues, and what needs to be done to bring more exposure to this increasingly important field. Results found that nine in 10 agree that not enough is being done to educate students on the opportunities open in cybersecurity , and 88% of consumers are concerned that today’s cybersecurity talent shortage will negatively impact the security of their personal information.
The results show that limited exposure to and educational resources focused on cybersecurity are contributing to the industry’s talent shortage as consumers are less inclined to explore these types of careers. 72% of consumers agree that limited exposure to the profession at a younger age, the belief that cybersecurity job candidates need a 4-year college degree to be considered, and the lack of cybersecurity education and training in schools are all to blame for the cybersecurity talent shortage. It’s clear that more needs to be done to ensure all students, from all backgrounds, receive more access to the field, and the opportunities that lie within it, to help shrink the gap.
“With more than 3.4 million cybersecurity jobs still open worldwide, the cybersecurity industry is in desperate need of professionals, but at the same time, it’s still hard to get into the industry – both due to the unrealistic expectations of practitioners hiring today, but also in part due to limited exposure early on showcasing what’s available in this field, as our survey results have found,” said Gene Fay, CEO at ThreatX. “To close the cybersecurity talent gap, security vendors and education systems will need to partner to create more opportunities from mentorship and learning in schools, to considering more diverse candidates who might not meet today’s rigid degree requirements.”
The report also presents several notable findings:
- Opportunities in cybersecurity shouldn’t be limited by resumes: 67% agree a career in cybersecurity should be achievable through certifications or apprenticeships versus a 4-year+ university degree.
- Diverse exposure is important to shrink the talent gap: More than half (52%) say engaging students of all backgrounds earlier in proper STEM/cybersecurity courses will help minimize the talent shortage in the cybersecurity industry.
- Cybersecurity training/exposure is best introduced at ages 12 – 15: More than half (54%) of consumers feel that adding STEM/cybersecurity courses into school curriculums at the US middle school/UK secondary school level is the best way to increase interest in a cybersecurity career later in life.
The findings from ThreatX’s survey highlight that a larger effort needs to be put forth to ensure students of diverse backgrounds are given opportunities to learn about and interact with cybersecurity courses, trainings, and clubs. By doing so, the industry will have a stronger chance at shrinking the current talent gap and diversifying the demographics currently dominating the profession. On top of this, the survey shows how security vendors can get involved by recognizing today’s traditional hiring practice limitations. Instead of looking for talent “unicorns,” leaders should focus more on credentials like certifications, or on training candidates with potential to fill roles, in addition to pursuing those with diverse backgrounds, education, and ethnicities. The cyber community also has an important role to play in mentorship to help bring more talent to the field.
To help expand exposure to cybersecurity, ThreatX launched ThreatX Academy and the eXecutive Security podcast in 2022. ThreatX Academy, an online portal hosting an extensive library of cybersecurity training modules, provides an accessible and approachable opportunity for those looking to begin, or advance, their cybersecurity careers – with most courses at no cost. In addition, the eXecutive Security podcast, hosted by ThreatX CEO Gene Fay, shares insights and advice from cybersecurity executives to help those looking to enter or advance within the field.