Cyber security could be an export earner, says NZTech

But the country faces a security skills shortage

The head of the New Zealand Technology Industry Association (NZTech), Graeme Muller, has warned that the country faces a security skills shortage, but despite this claims that cyber security could become a significant export earner for the country over the next decade.

Muller was addressing a roundtable discussion on cyber-security skills at the New Zealand security summit in Wellington.He said: “A recent report from Cisco said there was a global cyber security skills shortage of more than one million people, as governments and corporations struggle to keep up with the growth in cyber threats.

“Right now in the United States there are over 200,000 open cyber security jobs without candidates and cyber jobs have grown 74 percent in the last five years. Nearly 75 percent of US security professionals say they do not have enough staff to defend their organisations against current threats.”

Muller said the New Zealand the government and the tech sector had recognised this growing global problem and had created a collaborative private-public sector taskforce to proactively initiate solutions such as specialist tertiary degrees and the inclusion of cyber security in the new school curricula.

“Skills shortages in any industry mean that salaries will always be high and cyber security is no exception. The demand for talent is so acute that US cities are offering huge salaries to attract the right people and skills.,” Muller said.

“This could present a wonderful opportunity for New Zealand. If we can maintain our international reputation as a safe and secure country and produce world class cyber professionals, security could become a significant export earner over the next decade,” Muller said.

“The effective and safe use of information technology has the potential to deliver incredible benefits to the New Zealand economy by enabling greater efficiency and productivity. The technology industry is fast becoming a significant source of export revenues for the country accounting for at least $6.3 billion in exports last year.”

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