Gaining the attention of Gen Y

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Gaining the attention of Gen Y
Gaining the attention of Gen Y

The increasing number of breaches continues to create awareness at enterprises that are increasingly bulking up their security programs. But, as the workforce demand continues to rise, the industry needs to get the attention of millennials to fill positions.

According a recent survey by research firm Zogby Analytics, of the 1,000 young adult respondents in the U.S., less than a quarter were interested in joining the cyber security industry. However, the issue is less about interest, and more about awareness. 

That's because a majority of the potential up-and-coming talent aren't familiar with the opportunities. In the same survey, 82 percent of respondents indicated that counselors or high school teachers did not present cyber security as a potential career path.

43% of respondents say information security skills should be introduced in high school

– SC Magazine poll

Julian Waits, president and CEO of ThreatTrack Security, a Clearwater, Fla.-based anti-malware firm that works with universities in the Florida area in bolstering their cyber security programs, is not surprised by this.

“Considering how many businesses fail to employ best security practices, it's easy to understand why so many people outside of our industry would not even be aware there was a problem,” he says. 

While it is a demanding career path, one thing is for sure, there are perks that come with being a part of the industry.

In a separate industry report, “The 2013 (ISC)2 Global Information Security Workforce Study,” results indicated that the average salary of the 12,000 respondents was $92,835. And, industry pros in the Americas “command higher salaries” than those located in other regions around the world. 

Additionally, stability in the workplace seems to be the norm, as more than 80 percent of respondents said they had no change in employer over the past year on the job.

Regardless, in order for the incoming workforce to take advantage of these benefits, they need to be acquainted with the industry and the career possibilities. One solution may be to introduce cyber security career options at a younger age.

According to a recent SC Magazine poll, a majority of industry professionals believe that educational programs should be presented at the high school level, something with which Patty Hatter, senior vice president of operations and chief information officer at McAfee, agrees.

“We simply need to step up our game by creating compelling and interesting campaigns that pique their interest,” Hatter says.

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