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Millennials needed to fill cyber-security gap

Millennials needed to fill cyber-security gap
20th February 2017

by Shannon Greenhalgh

UK firms are failing to recruit millennials into the cyber security industry. New research suggests that, while they may be the answer to the growing cyber skills shortage, many employers are reluctant to hire them.

According to a study conducted by the Centre for Cyber Safety and Education, despite the fact more than half of UK companies do not have enough staff to adequately handle and prevent attacks, only 6% said that they would be willing to hire a university graduate.

Moreover, 66% stated that they did not have enough personnel to meet security standards, which in turn has an adverse effect on economics. The Global Information Security Workforce Study predicts that the world will face a global shortage of some 1.8 million information security workers by 2022.

The overwhelming refusal to hire and train graduate talent seems short sighted, with the report accusing employers of "closing the door on millennials". Employers defended their decision on the basis that it is difficult to find individuals with the right skills and experience (47%). However, 46% did admit that the shortfall had significantly impacted their customers.

Adrian Davis, managing director, at (ISC)², one of the sponsors of the report, believes that this reluctance to hire millennial talent will have serious consequences. He said: "A continuing industry refusal to hire people without previous experience, and a failure to hire university graduates means Britain is approaching a security skills 'cliff edge' due to the perfect storm of an ageing cyber workforce going into retirement and long-term failure to recruit from the younger generation.

"We need to see more emphasis on recruiting millennials and on training talent in-house rather than companies expecting to buy it off-the-shelf. There is a need to nurture the talent that is already in this country and recruit from the fresh pool of talent that is graduating from university."

Richard Horne, cyber security partner at PwC, echoed Davis' point. He commented that: "Supporting and developing the next generation of cyber security talent is essential to the future of the industry.

"We believe it's important to help our graduates experience the many different paths a career in this field could follow by offering a rotation programme around our teams, ranging from threat intelligence and incident detection and response to security transformation programmes and legal and regulatory compliance.

"We find that hiring and training inexperienced people pays off in better retention rates and a more diverse workforce."


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