Listen to AustCyber’s podcast ‘OzCyber Unlocked’.
This year, Australians will spend approximately $5.6 billion on cyber security from both local and international providers. This figure is expected to increase to $7.6 billion within the next three years as the cyber security sector continues to grow at a rapid rate.
And yet, we are facing a shortage of skilled cyber security workers in Australia, with the pipeline needing to expand to meet the sector's demands –and the economy’s overall growth.
It’s not just about fostering a career specifically in cyber security – it’s the fact that every career now has some element of cyber security in it. Australia needs its schools and kids to be undertaking digitally intuitive subjects and understanding the opportunity that can come from doing so.
A talent deficit
CyberSeek, an interactive mapping tool that tracks the state of the Australian cyber security job market in real-time and provides data on the talent gap within the sector, has revealed that the country is in a clear talent deficit. The tool is intended to be a one-stop-shop for anyone seeking detailed information and up-to-date data about the cyber security workforce in their region.
Will Markow, Managing Director at Burning Glass Technologies (one of the organisations that contributed to the tool’s development) said, “The premise behind CyberSeek is that you can’t prepare for a job that you know nothing about. In providing detailed, actionable information and data about the cyber security workforce so students, parents, educators, employers and policymakers can learn more about what jobs and skills are in demand, we hope to shine a light on the cyber security workforce in specific regions.”
CyberSeek is free and openly available to the public, so anyone interested in learning more about the cyber security workforce can understand the range of careers available to them, both in and beyond the IT field.
Trendwatch: cyber security
When taking an outward look at the trends in the sector, the first and most obvious trend is that cyber security jobs are in high demand, but undersupplied.
Markow said, “Looking at the existing pool of cyber security workers within Australia, employers posting cyber security job ads are recruiting from a pool of candidates roughly half the size of what they would be recruiting for in other roles across their enterprise.”
The second identified trend is that cyber security is everywhere, and with so many different roles within the sector, there are several entry points into the field. Being able to identify pools of ‘latent cyber security talent’ – those people who could be easily re-skilled into different roles within the sector – is going to be a valuable way of finding the fastest route to train as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, for roles within cyber security.
Even when the country was going through societal and economic turmoil due to COVID-19 in 2020, cyber security jobs remained in strong demand – their value and importance did not waver, underscoring the importance of these roles to the modern digital economy.
There’s a misconception that prevents many people from realising just how accessible a career in cyber security can be. In reality, there’s such a vast range of entry points into cyber security that venture beyond the stereotypical hoodie-wearing hacker in a dark bedroom who’s trying to infiltrate a large organisation.
There are also many people who have current roles that are fundamentally similar to those in the cyber sector. They might have 70–90 per cent of the skills needed to enter the field, but simply don’t realise it.
Arming people with more information, more knowledge and more data about cyber security careers can motivate them to pursue careers in the field if they know how appealing and accessible these careers can be.
Learn more about careers in cyber security by listening to AustCyber’s podcast ‘OzCyber Unlocked’.