Demand skills and expertiseDemand in Australia for cyber security services and related jobs—such as legal services, insurance and risk management—will grow by at least 21 per cent according to
employment projections over the next five years. There will be significant employment and career opportunities for those with appropriate skills.
However, the public and private sectors cannot fill their cyber security vacancies. The situation appears to be worsening—the take-up of ICT-related university degrees (often a precursor for cyber security professionals) has halved over the last decade and graduation rates have dropped. There are several potential explanations for this, including the type and number of courses currently available, and insufficient student awareness of job opportunities.
To build tomorrow’s workforce, the Government will work in partnership with the private sector and academic institutions to improve cyber security education at all levels of the education system. This will help to ensure Australia develops a workforce with the right skills and expertise that can help all Australians take full advantage of the opportunities in cyberspace.
The most urgent need is for highly-skilled cyber security professionals. Academic centres of excellence will enhance the quality of cyber security courses, teachers and professionals in Australia. The standard for gaining accreditation as a centre will be high and maintained through continual rigorous assessment.
The centres will deliver undergraduate and postgraduate cyber security education through a consistent curriculum and superior teaching. The profile of these centres will also help inspire students to think about careers in cyber security and study STEM subjects at school. The quality of graduates from the centres and the career opportunities available to them at home as well as abroad will also help influence up and coming students to seek career paths in Australia.
As well as university graduates with high-end cyber security skills, we need cyber security workers who can provide a range of functions to help organisations secure their networks. The Government will work with the private sector, the States and Territories and Skills Service Organisations to support the expansion of cyber security training in Registered Training Organisations (including TAFEs), potentially including the development of cyber security apprenticeships.
Australia’s cyber security workforce also suffers from low participation from women—which means we are not harnessing the full potential of our talent pool. In worldwide terms, only 10 per cent of information security professionals are women. This too will be addressed through a range of integrated actions developed with the private sector and research community.
The profile of the academic centres of cyber security excellence will also help inspire students to think about careers in cyber security and study STEM subjects at school. Expanding the national annual
Cyber Security Challenge Australia from a focus on university students to a broader program of competitions and skills development opportunities for a wider set of participants, including those already in the workforce, will also help generate a sustained national pipeline of cyber security professionals. This includes competitions with other nations.
People at all levels in the workforce, including those in executive-level positions , will have the opportunity to improve their cyber security knowledge and skills by participating in short courses, executive training and other programs that supplement existing Master’s courses with cyber security modules. This will also help increase the quality and quantity of people with cyber security skills.