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New Brunswick Continues to Punch Far Above its Weight Nationally and Globally in Cybersecurity

By 11 June 2020 No Comments

Ottawa, June 11th, 2020— The demand for cybersecurity expertise continues to climb in New Brunswick, which is recognized as a significant cybersecurity hub in Canada. Senior-level cybersecurity roles are particularly difficult to fill.

A new ICTC research report, Searching for Hidden Talent: Experience and Expertise in New Brunswick’s Cybersecurity Community, explores the demand for cybersecurity personnel in New Brunswick, determines whether the province is facing a cybersecurity labour gap, traces trends in cybersecurity employment, and identifies the most needed skillsets.

According to pre-COVID-19 forecasts, a global cybersecurity labour shortage of 1.8 million people is expected by 2022, with a corresponding North American shortage of 265,000 people by the same year.

Searching for Hidden Talent: Experience and Expertise in New Brunswick’s Cybersecurity Community highlights New Brunswick’s well-networked tech ecosystem and its dedicated organizations playing a hands-on role in workforce development.

The province has relative advantages (public sector investment, large industry players, and a high quality of life)—and some disadvantages (remoteness and high unemployment). Overall, however, New Brunswick outperforms other provinces in important metrics such as the cybersecurity jobs-to-population ratio, workforce development, and training institutions.

An interesting study finding suggests that New Brunswick employers value tangible cybersecurity-specific training, including work experience or cybersecurity-specific credentials such as a professional certificate, more highly than foundational degree programs. Cybersecurity job postings in the province, however, continue to request either undergraduate or graduate degrees in traditionally cybersecurity-related fields (Computer Science, Information Systems, Networking, etc.).

The study’s interviewees had a positive view of the province’s colleges, noting their agility and receptivity to industry feedback, which ensures relevant curricula and innovative training, including internships and co-op student work placements.

“As firms continue to transition their value chains to digital-first solutions post COVID-19, cyberthreats will represent a significant risk to these new business models. Cyber talent will play a critical role in the future in building the necessary safeguards and maintaining operational resiliency in this increasingly connected landscape,” said Namir Anani, ICTC President & CEO.

Searching for Hidden Talent: Experience and Expertise in New Brunswick’s Cybersecurity Community also explores the complex issues of the province’s workforce gaps, finding highly skilled cybersecurity expertise, high cybersecurity salary expectations, the lack of a clear career paths for recent graduates, and the lack of diversity in cybersecurity.

(To better understand the short-term impact of COVID-19, ICTC intends to publish an addendum to this report in Fall 2020.)

ICTC is a not-for-profit, national centre of expertise for strengthening Canada’s digital advantage in a global economy. Through trusted research, practical policy advice, and creative capacity-building programs, ICTC fosters globally competitive Canadian industries enabled by innovative and diverse digital talent. In partnership with a vast network of industry leaders, academic partners, and policy makers from across Canada, ICTC has empowered a robust and inclusive digital economy for over 25 years.

For media inquiries or further information about Searching for Hidden Talent: Experience and Expertise in New Brunswick’s Cybersecurity Community, please contact Paul Stastny at [email protected] or 403.351.0138 Ext. 823.

This report was funded by New Brunswick Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training, and Labour.

A copy of the study can be accessed here.

A French version of this press release is here.