Why the skills shortage is good news for cybersecurity experts

by Brett Henebery07 Aug 2017
The skills shortage is seeing an increasing demand for cybersecurity experts in Australian companies.

It is expected that there will be a shortfall of more than 1.5 million cybersecurity professionals by 2020 – a challenge that universities are eager to address.

Two of these are the University of Melbourne and Western Australia’s Edith Cowan University (ECU), who recently received a $1.9m grant from the Federal Government as part of the Australia-first Academic Centres of Cyber Security Excellence (ACCSE).

According to recruiting firm Hayes, many companies are boosting their cybersecurity budgets and casting the net further in the hope of attracting professionals with the skills to protect them from future cyberattacks.

Hays Information Technology senior regional director, Adam Shapley, told Security Brief that organisations realise that effects of cyberattacks are far-reaching. The after-effects can also be devastating to a business and its customers.

“Employers want to be better positioned to protect customer data and IT security,” he said.

“There’s more awareness that as the threats become more sophisticated they become more difficult to keep up with, so organisations want to address these issues now”.

Shapley said that businesses are seeing this issue as a priority, however attracting the small pool of experts to the roles is more difficult than ever. There is now a premium on candidates.

“We have seen an increase in both contract and permanent demand for security experts across a range of organisations, with security analysts and security architects, cyber threat intelligence analysts, consultants and cyber incident analysts all needed,” Shapley said.

The skills shortage in cybersecurity is a challenge that many universities are eager to address.

Two of these are the University of Melbourne and Western Australia’s Edith Cowan University (ECU), who recently received a $1.9m grant from the Federal Government as part of the Australia-first Academic Centres of Cyber Security Excellence (ACCSE).

The funding, which the two universities will share over a four-year period, will help them deliver enhanced cybersecurity training and produce highly skilled graduates.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has its sights set on improving cybersecurity through a $230m strategy to upskill professionals in this field.

The Federal Government estimates that it will cost over $400m over the next decade to boost Australia’s cyber intelligence capabilities and create 800 specialist jobs.

Dan Tehan, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security, said it was critical that Australia developed the skills of cybersecurity professionals for the good of the country.

“Encouraging a generation of Australian cyber security professionals is good for our cyber security, good for the economy and good for the young Australians who pursue careers in this area,” Tehan said.


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