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Major Companies Pledge To Take Steps Toward Building Cybersecurity Workforce

Large employers like Google, Facebook, Johnson & Johnson and Apple have committed to closing the gap of cybersecurity jobs.

Some of the world’s largest corporations have agreed to a set of steps that they hope will help close a major cybersecurity jobs gap.

Organized by the Aspen Cybersecurity Group, a part of the Aspen Institute, the initiative takes aim at prioritizing “real-world skills over degrees” so that more workers are deemed qualified to fill crucial positions in the security industry.

John Carlin, the chair of the Aspen Institute’s cybersecurity and technology program and a former assistant attorney general for national security, announced the coalition on Wednesday, stating the need to seek candidates outside of those who have bachelor’s and more advanced degrees.

There will be at least 500,000 vacant cybersecurity jobs in the U.S. by 2021, Carlin added.

“It should deeply concern all Americans that businesses and government agencies are struggling to find enough cybersecurity workers,” he wrote, referencing the amount of money lost in cybersecurity breaches each year.

The companies include tech giants Apple, Google, Facebook and IBM along with fellow partner organizations AIG, Cloudflare, Cyber Threat Alliance, Duke Energy, IronNet, Northrop Grumman, Symantec, Unisys, Verizon and PwC.

In addition to widening recruitment beyond applicants with four-year degrees, the companies have also committed to using “non-gender biased job descriptions” and focusing on core job requirements rather than using over-technical language. Companies have pledged to making career paths “understandable and accessible to current employees and job seekers,” Carlin wrote.

While there are structural forces that have led to fewer Americans being qualified for cyber jobs, including a lack of integrated cybersecurity curriculum in schools and universities, Carlin said that the industry must act now to do what it can to attract a more diverse workforce.

“Companies and government agencies already have the power to narrow the cyber workforce gap simply by changing their internal processes,” he wrote. “Many organizations are leaving large pools of skilled candidates untapped, in part because of overly complex job requirements that disqualify more than 50% of applicants.”

More organizations, including government agencies and smaller companies, may sign on to the initiative as well, according to the release.

About the Author

Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.

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