The updated Sector Competitiveness Plan (SCP) from AustCyber revealed skills shortage in Australia’s cyber security sector is more severe than initially estimated and is resulting in economic costs.
In 2017, the domestic cyber security sector is estimated to have forfeited up to $405 million in revenue, according to the report, which companies could have generated if they had been able to find enough cyber security workers to fill existing vacancies.
The Australian Cyber Security Growth Network’s (AustCyber’s) updated plan, stated that Australia may need almost 18,000 additional cyber security workers by 2026 for sector to harnesses its full growth potential.
There is, however, a "tremendous" market opportunity according to the report as global annual spending on cyber security increased by 7.4 per cent to US$131 billion in 2017 and is expected to remain robust in coming years.
The AustCyber plan was initially launched in April 2017, as reported by sister publication ComputerWorld, and it incorporates the views of the cyber security industry, universities, as well as the government.
According to Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews, the plan confirmed that improving the cyber skills and education pathways of Australians are critical to expanding the cyber security sector.
The SCP plan was launched with the intent to strengthen the Australian cyber security industry.
"Several hurdles are making it difficult for Australia to fully exploit existing advantages and develop a sizeable world-class cyber security sector," stated the updated report.
"To harness the enormous opportunity in cyber, Australia must address the skills shortage, focus efforts in research and development, improve the environment for incubating start-ups, and work to enhance access to global markets."
The report also said that businesses need to reach a stage of "demonstrated sophisticated, robust and resilient cyber security culture".
"This will require a shift in mindset for decision makers within these businesses, as well as across the entire spectrum of employees and suppliers.
"More organisations will identify the value in investing in and supporting cyber capability when they view cyber security as about more than reducing risk, and understand its role underpinning economic growth," said the report.