The study also found that cyber issues are more likely than ever to influence younger generations’ decisions at the ballot box.
The study also found that cyber issues are more likely than ever to influence younger generations’ decisions at the ballot box.

As the cybersecurity unemployment rate hovers at zero and the number of jobs in the field continue to grow, a recent study has found millennials and younger generations are taking an interest in cybersecurity as a career.

Increasing awareness of cyberattacks, the global shortage of cyber talent, and the higher paying jobs offered by the industry all have helped contribute this interest being seen. The report showed that 43 percent of millennial men and 30 percent of similarly aged women were more likely to choose a cyber career than they were just a year ago when numbers were 33 percent and 24 percent respectively, according to the Securing Our Future: Closing the Cybersecurity Talent Gap report.

The study conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance and Raytheon queried 3,779 adults between the ages of 18 and 26 from across the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Asia/Pacific and found that cyber issues are more likely than ever to influence younger generations' decisions at the ballot box.

In the U.S. alone, half of the young Americans surveyed noted there had not been enough discussion around cybersecurity issues in the recent U.S presidential campaign. Fifty-three percent of U.S. respondents answered yes when asked if a political candidate's position on cybersecurity could impact their level of support for that candidate.

The study also found that improvements are needed in education to better prepare the next generation to meet the cyber challenges they will face.

“Globally, only 27 percent of men and 19 percent of women strongly agreed their high school prepared them to use technology safely and ethically in the workplace, so it's no surprise that the level of education received by a young adult also directly effects their cyber career opportunities,” the report said.

Raytheon Chief Technology Officer of Cybersecurity and Special Missions Michael Daly told SCMagazine.com the survey did reveal some unexpected results.

“For me, the most significant surprise is the increasing gap between men and women in their relationship to cyber,” Daly said. “This year, we found an 18 point separation in young adults saying they know what cybersecurity professionals do [54% of men and 36% of women].”

He added that this is a call to action for those in the cybersecurity field since last year there was a 13 point gap.

“We need to help women, in particular, see how a cyber career lines up very well with their expectations of a good career,” Daly said. “We also need to develop partnerships between the public and private sector to promote and invest in programs that will inspire the next generation of students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math fields.”

The report also found that Young adults showed great interest in high-paying careers which use skills including problem solving, analytical thinking and communication — all of which are the hallmarks of a career in cybersecurity, researchers said.

“As cyber becomes even more tightly woven into the fabric of our national security, the rising demand for cyber talent will continue to outpace the growth of our cyber workforce, leaving a gap that must be filled,” Daly said.