16 More Industry Leaders Commit to Principles to Grow the Nation’s Cybersecurity Workforce

February 26, 2020

At least 500,000 positions will go unfilled if action not taken, research indicates

Contacts: David Forscey
Managing Director, Aspen Cybersecurity Group
david.forscey@aspeninstitute.org | 202-464-4352

Jon Purves
Senior Media Relations Manager
The Aspen Institute
Jon.Purves@aspeninstitute.org | 202-736-2111

Washington, DC, February 26, 2020 – The Aspen Cybersecurity Group today announced additional commitments from major employers who are dedicated to improving cybersecurity and growing high-tech jobs for the new economy: Bank of America, Accenture, Casey’s General Stores, CenturyLink, FireEye, Intel, Malwarebytes, McAfee, Proofpoint, Rapid7, Raytheon, Recorded Future, Target, Tenable, U.S. Bank, and VMware.

These employers join fifteen others—AIG, AppleCloudflareCyber Threat Alliance, Duke Energy,  FacebookGoogle,  IBM,  IronNet,  Johnson & Johnson,  Northrop Grumman, Symantec, UnisysVerizon, and PwC—who in October 2019 committed to implementing principles to widen the talent aperture for cybersecurity positions based on work led by IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, Co-Chair of the Aspen Cybersecurity Group.

Cybersecurity is essential to protect intellectual property, safeguard consumer financial data, and ensure that American businesses can grow and prosper. But the people needed to perform cybersecurity jobs are in short supply; unfilled cybersecurity positions have grown by 50% since 2015. According to the Aspen Cybersecurity Group’s report on Principles for Growing and Sustaining the Nation’s Cybersecurity Workforce, there will be at least 500,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the United States by 2021. One primary reason is that many companies overlook talented individuals through outdated hiring practices that restrict the talent pool.

These 31 employers are acting now to expand their aperture for cybersecurity talent, thereby strengthening security for their customers and promoting American competitiveness. By adopting key Principles for Growing and Sustaining the Nation’s Cybersecurity Workforce, these employers are committing to:

  1. Widen the aperture of candidate pipelines, including expanding recruitment focus beyond applicants with four-year degrees or using non-gender biased job descriptions.
  2. Revitalize job postings to focus on engagement and the core requirements; don’t “over-spec” the requirements.
  3. Make career paths understandable and accessible to current employees and job seekers, referencing models like the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Cybersecurity Workforce Framework where applicable.

“This is the next step in our nationwide effort to enhance cybersecurity while improving diversity in hiring,” said John Carlin, Chair of the Aspen Institute’s Cyber & Technology Program. “Business leaders should pay close attention. We don’t have to move heaven and earth to close the cyber jobs gap. These companies are committing to basic steps that can attract talent wherever it may be—not only at elite four-year institutions.”

“Sustaining the pace of innovation and growth in the global economy calls for diligent attention to workforce development,” said Cathy Bessant, Bank of America Chief Operations and Technology Officer. “This partnership creates opportunities for all of us to make certain employees can improve their skills to keep up with new technology and fill in-demand roles.”

“Diversity in cyber is not a nice-to-have. Embracing people from all backgrounds and disciplines is essential to our collective mission, both in terms of introducing new ways of thinking and in terms of solving the job skills gap. We at Tenable applaud the work of the Aspen Cybersecurity Group and look forward to working with the team to identify and nurture the next generation of diverse cybersecurity talent. Our future success depends on it,” said Amit Yoran, Chairman and CEO of Tenable.

“The cybersecurity landscape evolves at an exceptionally fast pace. As the complexity grows, it is vital that organizations work to collectively strengthen and diversify the workforce as well,” said Barbara Massa, Executive Vice President and Chief of Business Operations at FireEye. “As part of our wider mission to relentlessly protect security-conscious organizations, FireEye is equally committed to expanding the talent pool by building and nurturing leading cyber experts.”

“Our industry often uses the term talent gap when describing the short supply of cybersecurity workers, but that is misleading,” said Corey Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of Rapid7. “Millions of Americans have the talent to excel in security—far more than we need. But many don’t know it. Rapid7 is focused on engaging with underrepresented communities to show them their potential in this field.”

“Cybersecurity is one of the most innovative and critical fields. It directly impacts everything from how companies do business to how people live their lives,” said Gary Steele, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board for Proofpoint. “Stopping today’s cybercriminals requires a security workforce that is passionate, creative, and believes in doing everything possible to safeguard organizations and their people. We are committed to identifying a diverse talent pool, across a range of experience levels, and investing in our employees’ success as they continue to grow and develop their cyber skill sets.”

“Target is committed to help inspire the next generation of cybersecurity leaders,” said Rich Agostino, Chief Information Security Officer for Target. “To enhance the talent pipeline in this industry, we partner with universities and invest in cybersecurity education. Today we are proud to join our peers in the important mission of the Aspen Cybersecurity Group.”

“Our businesses, our communities and our future are dependent on a diverse cybersecurity workforce that can bring new ideas, alternative thinking and creative approaches to the table to help organizations solve their cybersecurity challenges. This isn’t about one company looking for talent,” said Kelly Bissell, senior managing director of Accenture Security. “Collaboration with business ecosystem partners, the government and academia is key to building the next generation of cyber talent and plugging the IT skills gap. We are pleased to work with the Aspen Cybersecurity Group and play a role in this important endeavor.”

The Aspen Cybersecurity Group invites other employers, including federal, state, and local government agencies, to join this effort to widen the pool of candidates for roles in cybersecurity and to make fast-growing, in-demand cybersecurity roles accessible to more Americans.

The Aspen Cybersecurity Group is the nation’s leading cross-sector, public-private cybersecurity forum comprising former government officials, Capitol Hill leaders, industry executives, and respected voices from academia, journalism, and civil society. More information about the Group and its members is available at https://www.aspeninstitute.org/team/aspen-cyber-group/.

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.


This release was updated 2/26/20 to include CenturyLink’s participation

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