Ottawa, October 13, 2022—A shortage of cyber professionals in Canada sees one in six cybersecurity jobs go unfilled, which represents one of the country’s biggest challenges for the digital economy.
A 2021 international security association study estimates that Canada employs about 124,000 cybersecurity professionals but needs 25,000 more cybersecurity professionals. Despite high compensation packages, contributing factors to the Canadian cybersecurity shortfall include burnout, students opting out of cybersecurity education, and competition from even higher cybersecurity salaries in the U.S.
ICTC’s National Advisory Committee on Cybersecurity Training (INACCT) has been tasked with examining the gaps in post-secondary student skills and programs, the barriers to entry, diversity issues, and the cybersecurity training delivery models. As a basis for defining INACCT’s roadmap, ICTC undertook a research project to investigate Canada’s cybersecurity talent pipeline. This study, Cybersecurity Talent Development: Protecting Canada’s Digital Economy, explores the cybersecurity talent ecosystem in Canada and includes:
As part of this study, ICTC conducted two nationwide surveys: one for students who had completed or abandoned a cybersecurity post-secondary institution education path and one for employers who hire cybersecurity talent. A potential response to the findings of the study includes a post-secondary institution-based pilot to leverage emerging education pathways to help bridge cybersecurity talent to employment.
“With accelerated adoption of digital technologies across all industries in the last two years, the ‘attack surface’ has widened significantly for malevolent actors. The depth and the magnitude of the threats have increased in a similar fashion. Canadian industry and academia recognize that every single worker plays a role in maintaining a safe and secure work environment. INACCT builds on this insight and is a continuation of our work with key cybersecurity leaders and is a critical pilar for ICTC’s cybersecurity strategy” says Marc Lijour, Vice-President Capacity Building and Innovation at ICTC.
“Supporting studies like this are important because it shows where the diversity gaps are in Canada’s cyber security industry. When we see where diversity is lacking, we can encourage the industry to recruit from a wider talent pool - ultimately building a more resilient workforce.” – Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, Marci Ien
The Information and Communications Technology Council (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 an expansive network of industry leaders, academic partners, and policy makers from across Canada, ICTC has empowered a robust and inclusive digital economy for over 30 years.
To arrange an interview on this study or other media inquiries, please contact Paul Stastny at [email protected] or 403.351.0138 Ext. 823.
This study was conducted in partnership with the ICTC National Advisory Committee on Cybersecurity Training (INACCT).
The study was funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Student Work Placement Program (SWPP). The SWPP gives post-secondary students across Canada paid work experience related to their field of study.
A copy of the study can be accessed here.
A French language press release of this report is available here.
To cite this report:
Chris Herron and Trevor Quan, “Cybersecurity Talent Development: Protecting Canada’s Digital Economy,” (Ottawa, ON: Information and Communications Technology Council, March 2022).
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