The Australian Cyber Security Skills Shortage Study 2016

AISA research report


Part of AISA's mission is to provide advice and guidance to government on the creation of policy, law and legislation in relation to cyber security in Australia. This research into the Australian cyber security skills shortage commenced in May 2016. The aim was to provide support for and help identify solutions that build Australia's cyber security capacity and capabilities.

We believe this research sheds a unique light on the complex issues that underlie the Australian cyber security skills shortage. Rather than a simple case of demand exceeding supply of cyber security workers, this research identifies that the Australian skills shortage is more about organisations that fail to resource appropriately in order to secure their information assets. It is further fuelled by a lack of management understanding of information security risks and exacerbated by limited opportunities for those looking to enter the cyber security area, with the focus by employers and recruiters on prior experience and detailed knowledge of very narrow and specific areas unnecessarily narrowing the pool of available candidates.

The reluctance of many employer organisations to invest in development of entry level cyber security workers is a particular concern, raising questions about the career prospects of graduates from vocational and tertiary courses. The profession itself often fails to recognise that, for many, information security is an additional duty to other tasks rather than a full time focus. The research also suggests there is a need for generalists to gain access to appropriate cyber security education, training and support.

Based on the findings from this research AISA is pursuing a number of important initiatives:

  • Publication of a Cyber Security Careers Guide that identifies roles and pathways for those interested in pursuing a cyber security career
  • Mapping education and training offered by vocational and tertiary education providers and training organisations to cyber security roles and promoting opportunities to members
  • Working with employers to increase their understanding of the need to invest in and grow Australia's cyber security capability
  • Working with the Australian Professional Standards Council to bring Cyber Security as a profession under the scheme.

The cyber security skills shortage is a topic that clearly resonates with AISA members who have generously contributed to interviews, survey responses and online discussions as part of this research and who have reviewed and analysed the results in subsequent focus groups. We thank them for their support.

Mr Arno Brok
[email protected]

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