Cyber security workforce continues to shrink as demand for new staff grows

The UK is facing a serious shortage of new information security recruits, according to a recent study released by (ISC)2 and the Center for Cyber Safety and Education. The gap between the predicted number of job openings and the number of new recruits is expected to rise to 1.8 million worldwide in the next five years.

There are two reasons behind this: an ageing workforce and employers’ reluctance to train up new recruits. Only 6% of UK companies are hiring recent graduates, the Global Information Workforce Study (GISWS) found, with employees who lack experience or training being left behind. Only 12% of employees in information security are under the age of 35, while 53% are over 45.

Millennials: the next generation

The diminishing talent pool is inflating wages across the board, with the top third of employees earning over £87,000 a year. But crucially, the report claims that the latest generation of workers, the millennials, are not necessarily motivated by money.

Millennials are expected to make up nearly half the UK workforce by 2019, so talented and qualified employees will become an increasingly valuable find. To secure the best new talent, the GISWS writes, it’s important to understand who millennials are and what motivates them.

Training programmes sought after

The survey’s most significant finding is that millennials covet opportunities for career development above short-term gains. Among the prospects that they look for in a job are:

  • Executive leadership and mentorship programmes
  • Training programmes
  • Role diversity
  • Remote or flexible work arrangements

Millennials also value the opportunity to gain professional certifications. Indeed, organisational training programmes are considered more important to the latest working generation than to any before (65% said they are very important, compared to 60% of generation Xers and 58% of baby boomers). Yet those without security qualifications make up a larger percentage of millennial information security workers than those of previous generations:

  • 24% – millennials
  • 10% – generation Xers
  • 7% – baby boomers

The fact is that many younger employees are not being trained – and if they are, they are having to pay for it themselves. A reported 36% of millennials paid for the full cost of any training programme they attended, an 8 percentage point rise on generation Xers.

Secure your and your company’s future

For those looking to develop a career in information security, investing in your own future is crucial. IT Governance provides a comprehensive guide to finding appropriate qualifications and offers training courses to help achieve those certifications.

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