Microsoft wants to close the cybersecurity skills gap
- Microsoft cybersecurity campaign and initiative will skill and recruit workers in additional 23 countries
- Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that there will be 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs open globally by 2025
- In countries where Microsoft is expanding its campaign, only 17% of the cybersecurity workforce are female
Microsoft has announced that it will expand its cybersecurity skilling initiative to include an additional 23 countries from Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Due to their elevated cyberthreat risk, the company aims to get ahead of the demand in their skilling initiative in countries like Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Colombia, France, Germany, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
These countries have a significant gap in their cybersecurity workforces regarding the number of professionals employed versus the demand and a lack of diversity.
Microsoft to close the Cybersecurity gap
The initiative, first launched last year, is an effort by the tech giant to help plug the global shortfall of cybersecurity professionals. One of their company goals is to ensure traditionally excluded populations have opportunities to enter the cybersecurity workforce, including women.
Kate Behncken, vice president and lead of Microsoft Philanthropies, wrote in her blog that in countries where the company is expanding its campaign, only 17% of the cybersecurity workforce are female.
Deloitte Global predicts that sizeable global technology firms will only reach nearly 33% overall female representation in their workforces in 2022, up slightly more than two percentage points from 2019.
To fully understand the skills gap and share best practices, Microsoft is also launching a new partnership with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The collaboration will create a detailed study on the skills gap in selected countries and improve the ability to grow cybersecurity workforces through postsecondary education and training.
Microsoft cybersecurity campaign aims to skill and recruit workers
The skilling campaign saw the company partnering with 135 community colleges to skill and recruit workers into the cybersecurity industry. Microsoft provides access to free curriculum, educator training, and tools for teaching. The company also shares cybersecurity best practices with schools through the American Association of Community Colleges.
The first of three cohorts are provided grants for funding technical assistance to accelerate their cybersecurity programs. Finally, the company grants scholarships to students seeking a degree or certification in a cybersecurity field.
Meanwhile, in Colombia, Microsoft cybersecurity skills work to support the government’s initiative to increase its national cybersecurity capacity. The collaboration is helping people acquire cybersecurity and digital skills needed for in-demand jobs.
Cybersecurity facing a workforce shortage
Cybersecurity is one of the most important and fastest-growing industries today. However, it has become an even more significant threat in the past few years as people become increasingly reliant on digital technologies.
Cybercriminals are increasingly sophisticated and the threat landscape more diverse. This is seen from supply chain disruptions to recent ransomware attacks that impacted thousands of people, businesses, and governments.
By 2025 there will be 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs open globally, according to Behncken quoting Cybersecurity Ventures’ prediction. Despite its growth, the field faces a workforce shortage and a widening skills gap among workers.
Investment in a cybersecurity workforce is critical
The investment in the cybersecurity workforce ensures there are enough people with the skills to protect digital infrastructure, economy, and way of life. A country or organization is only as strong as our weakest link, and right now, that weakest link is the lack of skilled cybersecurity professionals.