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Similar to Japan, Australia is one of the few countries with a growing elderly population—and even though both economies are stable and strong, this reality will soon need some attention. For Australians, one of the biggest threats to their future is the lack of younger, skilled cybersecurity professionals who can uphold industry best practices. The current populations of the country has only been able to fill 7% of the cybersecurity staffing needs. The global demand for cybersecurity professionals was recently enforced by regional laws like GDPR that makes the job category even more valuable.

Indeed, a well known mainstream job hunting site has confirmed a spike in the number of professional postings for cyber defense jobs and other categories of IT work versus the number of searches done by job hunters. As a result, cybersecurity professionals in the market now find themselves in a favorable position with the potential to earn up to $239,000 annually.  However, a large gap in skills remains as qualified IT individuals continue to elude employers. Last May, when the new GDPR took effect, there were 77 jobs connected with cybersecurity per million job post. There is now growing pressure to fill these vacancies, but the pool of applicants cannot do the job.

As an Indeed representative confirmed, “Protection against cyber threats is a key focus for many organizations. Every type of organization needs qualified staff with the skills and experience to mitigate against risks posed by cybercriminals. The problem is that cybersecurity professionals – who combine broad technical skills with specific security expertise and an understanding of business risk – are becoming much harder to find. Addressing this skills shortage will remain a matter of critical importance for the foreseeable future.”

Rupert Taylor-Price, CEO of Vault Systems explained more, “The cloud is an enabler of digital transformation because it offers organizations and agencies the speed and scale to drive innovation. However, for the government, information security must be retained in this more productive computing environment. To do this both secure cloud systems and IT professionals trained in its use are required. There is no doubt that the move towards digital transformation will only be successful if the Australian IT workforce has the necessary skills and experiences to support a seamless move to the cloud.”

The only known long-term solution to the gap is through education and retraining. Some educational institutions in Australia have started a program to recapture an ideal proportion of cybersecurity jobs (and other jobs in other industries for that matter) vs the availability of a qualified pool of candidates. One such institution is the University of Sydney, through its $600,000 government funding for establishing Digital Technologies Challenge, which is about to start by October 2018. “The Challenges will provide the critical skills and attitudes that students need to operate safely online while delivering Australia’s digital technologies curriculum and highlighting the fantastic career paths that exist in cybersecurity. Teachers and parents concerned about cybersecurity can be confident that their students will be security conscious in their digital work and lives by participating in the Challenges,” said Associate Professor, James Curran of the Australian Computing Academy.

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