OTTAWA, Nov. 20, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — With the rising demand for cybersecurity skills in Canada and the concurrent shortage of cybersecurity professionals, post-secondary institutions (PSIs) can play a vital role in training talent, according to new research from The Conference Board of Canada.
“In training the next generation of cybersecurity talent, post-secondary institutions need to continue to adopt a multidimensional approach to education that is responsive to the evolving demands of the cybersecurity landscape,” stated Heather McIntosh, Associate Director of Education and Skills at The Conference Board of Canada. “Considering the dynamic nature of this field, instilling the value of lifelong learning in students and professionals alike is paramount.”
Driven by the rapid digitalization of businesses and the increasing frequency of cyberattacks, the demand for cybersecurity skills has surged. This demand, which spans across various industries and roles, is underscored by the wage premiums offered to professionals who possess these highly coveted skills. Positions requiring cybersecurity skills offer a 70 per cent higher average hourly wage than all other job postings in Canada.
While the demand for cybersecurity professionals is widespread across the country, its geographical distribution is heavily concentrated in Ontario, specifically Toronto, which has emerged as the province’s cyber hub. Toronto alone represents more than one-third of Canada’s cybersecurity labour market demand.
Over the next five years, demand for cybersecurity professionals is projected to grow by an estimated average annual rate of 2.9 per cent. However, amidst the escalating demand, Canada’s cybersecurity talent deficit poses a serious threat to the digital economy. PSIs are well-positioned to address this challenge by developing cybersecurity programs that equip their graduates with the skills required by Canada’s labour market, today and in the future.
“Building a future-proof cybersecurity program requires PSIs to consider several crucial elements, including curriculum adaptability and industry partnerships,” continued McIntosh. “Given that the cybersecurity landscape is constantly evolving, curriculum must be agile and able to adapt to the shifting demands of the labour market. Industry partnerships are pivotal in this process, as they offer valuable insights into emerging trends and industry best practices.”
PSIs should also focus on developing cybersecurity programs that cultivate a diverse talent pool. Doing so at the post-secondary level will promote a diverse workforce, enriched with different backgrounds and a broad range of perspectives, which is known to benefit workplace productivity.
In today’s digital era, the demand for cybersecurity talent is clear. Thus, it is imperative for PSIs to re-evaluate and re-design their current program offerings to ensure their graduates are equipped with the cybersecurity skills critical to Canada’s digital future.
About The Conference Board of Canada
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