What Stops Millennials From Pursuing Cybersecurity Career?



It’s been widely reported that the global cybersecurity talent shortage is projected to reach 1.8 million unfilled roles by 2020. In the meantime, the talent shortage causes open cybersecurity jobs to often take months or even years to fill, while cybercriminals capitalize on short-staffed businesses. Fueling the widening gap are perception challenges about careers in cybersecurity, negligible information about the field, lack of access to early instruction and mentoring, and unrealistic recruiting requirements.

A recent report  by ProtectWise and Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), identified some of the challenges the security industry will face and must conquer, and in the process, came up with some interesting findings.

The study somewhat portrays a sad picture of cybersecurity career. It shows only 9% of millennials said they are interested in pursuing a cybersecurity career at some point in their lives.  The majority of respondents said they are interested in computer-related careers, including video game development (33%), computer sciences/software development (21%), engineering (15%), scientific research (13%), and information technology (11%).

Besides, 69% of respondents to ESG had never taken a class on cybersecurity, and while 65% mentioned non availability of cyber security courses in the respective schools.

The stats show that around 37% has no clear idea on what can be the potential career option and lack the basic understanding of the course, while 28% blatantly put down the fact that they do not consider themselves well versed with knowledge or aptitude to enter the field.

The study shows that female millennials (57%) are more likely than their male counterparts (40%) to find a career in cybersecurity exciting, according to survey data from Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), summarized in a blog post by ProtectWise. There are only a fewer women might consider a career in information technology compared to the male counterparts, the report further concluded.

With tech skills in high demand, cybersecurity skills training is lagging behind need. Organizations of all types are working with organizations like private think tanks to address learning initiative growth in the field. Employers may need to think outside conventional parameters when looking for talent; a report from McAfee posited that video gamers may provide a partial answer to shortages, for example.

Beyond recruiting, CISOs see training for cybersecurity roles as a top priority, but demand continues to outpace supply. Silicon Valley is taking an initiative to attract the attention of women to consider tech roles, it’s working through various means: addressing gender discrimination and pay equity, launching STEM education initiatives, and even working with schools to spread awareness and enthusiasm for tech careers. But even the most attractive STEM careers will likely need some form of rebranding to attract various demographics.

An early interest in learning programs related to science and technology and the career aspects of it can go a long way that can acknowledge and address present and future skills gaps.


Written by Loknath Das