Cyber threats are on the rise, and Canadian business leaders are increasingly concerned they don’t have the ability to deal with an attack against their organization. A recent KPMG survey found that the number of CEOs at large Canadian companies who said they were “well prepared” or “very well prepared” for a cyberattack dropped 17 percentage points from last year. Those who said they were “underprepared” increased three-fold.
Canada relies on skilled cybersecurity professionals to keep our communities safe and productive, but the demand for talent has outpaced supply. A recent survey by Cisco Canada and Angus Reid found that over a third of Canadian organizations say they lack the talent to properly invest in cybersecurity infrastructure.
But it’s not just about filling job postings. We need digital talent in Canada to remain competitive, bolster our economy and protect our infrastructure from an increasing rise in cyber threats and attacks.
And the way to get there is through partnerships across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. By bringing together resources, expertise, and scale, together we can support Canada’s long-term success in the digital economy. Whether that means inspiring high school students to pursue a career in IT, supporting early in career professionals just getting started, or helping reskill and retrain our work force – we need a coordinated effort to deliver impact and effect change.
With labour force participation in Canada declining in many provinces, reskilling creates a bridge to long-term, sustainable employment opportunities and economic resiliency.
As a global leader in cybersecurity, Cisco is committed to building Canada’s talent pipeline and skilling the next generation of IT leaders through key partnerships. Take Coding for Veterans as an example.
Powered by Cisco’s Networking Academy – one of the world’s largest skills to jobs training programs – Coding for Veterans retrains and reskills those who have served in Canada’s military, helping them transition to civilian careers in the very high-demand sector of cybersecurity.
The alignment between military personnel and cybersecurity and IT professionals is a natural fit. Jeff Musson, executive director of Coding for Veterans, said it best: “Veterans move from defending Canada on the front lines, to defending Canada in cyber space. When you look at the soft skills that men and women of our military have, it aligns perfectly with the soft skills of the best and brightest in the tech industry.”
The eight-month online course provides veterans with industry-recognized accreditations and in turn, the not-for-profit organization is helping build a workforce to protect and defend Canadian organizations from increased cyber threats. Over 300 veterans are currently enrolled in the program, with an impressive 90 per cent placement rate.
Partnerships like this are a win-win-win situation to address the digital skills gap in Canada. It’s a win for those students seeking fulfilling and highly paid career; it’s a win for the industry to have access to more skilled talent; and it’s a win for Canada to have a more robust pipeline of talent that can protect and defend our critical infrastructure, businesses, and government against threats and attacks.
Shannon Leininger is the President of Cisco Canada.