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Two recent studies reveal that employers across the globe are
struggling with finding and developing the talent they need to build, maintain
and secure their organizations’ technology infrastructure.
Research conducted and released by the Technology
Councils of North America (TECNA) found
that 83 percent of the respondents to a survey reported that their businesses
face a shortage of software development specialists. Nearly 70 percent of the
more than 750 respondents said their companies are attempting to address the
talent shortage by offering more training and providing more internships to
students in high-tech fields.
“Software engineers are critical to the functioning of nearly
every organization and industry, so closing the talent gap is a high priority
for TECNA’s regional technology council and the employers we serve throughout
North America,” said Bob More, executive director of TECNA.
The TECNA survey examined specific skills gaps and educational
requirements employers need and want from workers. The respondents indicated
that software programmers, developers and engineers were particularly critical
for mobile and corporate systems technology.
The findings of a study released by the (ISC)2 Foundation on April 16, 2015, aligned
with the TECNA findings that employers face severe shortages in skilled
high-tech workers, particularly in the information security field. The
Global Information Security Workforce
Study surveyed more than 14,000 human
resource and information security professionals about the trends and
opportunities in information systems security. Based on the survey results,
analysts estimated that by 2019 there will be nearly 6 million open positions in
the information security field. The talent shortage is increasing rapidly,
researchers concluded, because training and development programs cannot keep up
with the growing employer demand for trained and experienced information
“The [skills and labor] gap is rolling on top of itself to the
point where it’s growing exponentially,” said Julie Peeler, director of the
(ISC)2 Foundation, a
Clearwater, Fla.-based organization dedicated to promoting cybersecurity
education and awareness programs.
According to the (ISC)2 survey data, 62 percent of the respondents reported lacking qualified
staff to fill the open information security jobs at their organizations, which
is up from 55 percent in 2013. In addition, 45 percent of the respondents said
their organizations could not find qualified candidates to recruit and
The TECNA and (ISC)2
studies both demonstrate the need for employers to
“grow their own” talent and to develop training programs that specifically
target the skills businesses need. However, businesses are struggling with how
to offer the needed training and how to identify the best candidates for
training. Researchers for the (ISC)2 study recommended that employers
alleviate the talent shortage by hiring more Millennials (workers born after
1980) and then training them to perform the jobs.
According to data gathered by (ISC)2, an estimated 6 percent of the
information security workforce is under 30 years old. While that statistic may
appear surprising to some, researchers explained that the low participation rate
for Millennials can be attributed to employers’ needs and the desire to hire
more-experienced workers for critical information security jobs.
Hiring and training younger and less experienced workers to
fill open positions could help to ease a talent shortage but would not
completely solve the problem.
“In the final assessment, the strategies of investing in
security technologies, personnel, and outsourcing will be insufficient to
materially reduce the workforce shortage,” the (ISC)2 report stated. “An expansion of security
awareness and accountability throughout the organization is required. Casual
attempts at security awareness and education only go so far. A more impactful
approach is to embed real security accountability into other departments, in
particular IT; and for the IT and security departments to function more
Bill Leonard is a senior writer at
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