If anything, over the last six months or so, COVID-19 resulting lockdowns have pushed the pedal on going remote: be it for education, work or catching up with friends. Interestingly, almost all sectors, even non-IT or those that had never even thought of an online based environment have had to adjust and play catch up.
Undeniably, what happens in a potential new normal is still to be seen with respect to whether online would continue or people would fall back to same offline levels of engagements. Nonetheless, one thing that has been concretised for all sectors is that there is a strong need for in-house IT capacity to streamline processes when working remotely. As an IT recruitment agency in Singapore, we believe that there is an even more crucial skill that all remote workers need to be adept at; and that is cyber security.
Let’s take a closer look at what it means to have this skill in 2020 and why is it so important..
1. Identified cyber-skills shortage
As data privacy and protection becomes even more critical, the outstripped demand for skilled workers increases even more. Since the last few years and now in the backdrop of the COVID-19 lockdowns and remote working mandates, the demand for cyber security professionals and cyber security skills across teams has risen manifold. It has also been argued that cyber security skills shortage exists in over 65% organisations. Concurrently, there have been reports citing over 30% increase in searches related to cyber security and related roles and a 6% increase in job postings for the same skill sets during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
In such a setting, it is important that first, professionals upskill in cyber security, whether or not they are in direct cyber security roles. Aside from the already existing sectors and job roles, there will be new ones added in the next couple of years. For example, the manufacturing sector that relies and now more heavily on SCADA and other automation systems - needs a cyber security skilled workforce.
2. It’s the future-proof raw material for remote working
One of the things that 2020 has taught the entire world is that it is possible to effectively work from anywhere. As teams move remote, they also become potential targets for hackers, creating an urgent need for certain skills that outweigh many others in the near future. Cyber security related skills have clearly maintained the top of the chart positions when it comes to such skills. Moreover, it has been observed that jobs that require cyber security skills are going to be in much higher demand than others in a post COVID environment. Even if you are not someone who would directly be engaged in a technical cyber security position right away, skills in this area are going to be the future competitive advantage and distinguishing factor for getting hired.
3. Tightening of regulatory oversight
The sudden digitisation drive has also sent a wake up call to many regulators who were not ready; reminding them that most infrastructure and data has become cyber or cyber-enabled at this point. This means that going ahead, there is going to be much more stringent oversight and accountability with respect to cyber security and data protection compliances. In such a scenario, every company would need a whole-of-organisation approach and in turn, mandatory cyber security capabilities across teams and departments. This points to the requirement of cyber security talent at each step of the way, all the way from a network security specialist to a security compliance officer. It is now that professionals in existing streams of work need to get upskilled in cyber security so that they can contribute to their organisations better and command better positions.
4. Cyber Security is a recession-proof career
Surprisingly enough, as pay increases have plummeted for many sectors and layoffs are more frequent, the numbers lso tell a different story for the cyber security related roles. Even during hints of a potential recession and later, professionals with cyber security skills have reported pay-hikes as much as 20-30% in certain sectors. Skilled cyber security professionals are also better sheltered from layoffs in similar uncertain times.
A recent study by PwC showed that as compared to the general workforce, where planned layoffs were found as high as 62% (due to the COVID-19 recessionary effects), cyber security roles related layoffs was only 2%. This points to the fact even in cases where companies are forced to lay people off, cyber security professionals are most likely not going to be on the list, adding weight to the need for upskilling in cyber security.
The importance of cyber security for a remote workforce
What the sudden outbreak of a pandemic has done is provided that initial acceleration to digitisation movements. This means that technology adoption is not going to die out, rather increase gradually. In many cases, companies have announced long-term or permanent work from home policies adding to the need of cyber security skills even among the non-technical staff. What has happened at the same is that the uncertainty of physical working spaces has moved our economies online and with this shift, put the spotlight on cyber security as the game-changer ensuring smooth continuation of this economic system.
At the heart of all of this, are the people who enable productive remote working in this new world. Cyber security and other tech skills are key areas that present workers will need to upskill and be reskilled in, so that they can thrive in a dynamic and competitive job market.
Like all other work, BGC Group’s digital recruitment efforts for these positions will support organisations in switching from traditional recruitment to more dynamic and technology driven methods of sourcing. As a leading IT specialist recruiter in Singapore, we strive to help and facilitate a smooth end to end service for both IT professionals and employers looking for high quality IT talents fast.
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