IT security skills in high demand but short supply

22 May 2008

There is a wide gap between the information technology (IT) security skills that organizations want and the corresponding skills that workers bring to the job, according to a new survey commissioned by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA).

Security tops the list of the technology skills that are most important to organizations today, according to the survey of more than 3,500 technology professionals in North America, Europe and Asia. But there is a significant gap in the security skills available among today's tech workforce, the survey reveals.

Among organizations surveyed in nine countries with established IT industries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and United States), 73 percent identified security, firewalls and data privacy as the IT skills most important to their organization today. But just 57 percent said their IT employees are proficient in these security skills, a gap of 16 percentage points.

The gap is even wider in five countries where the emergence of a strong IT industry is relatively recent (China, India, Poland, Russia, and South Africa). Among respondents in these countries, 76 percent identified security as the top skill their organization needs; but just 57 percent said their current tech staff is proficient in security. That's a difference of 19 percentage points.

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