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In early 2020, the Australian Information Security Association (AISA) partnered with NSW Treasury to undertake a research project to identify potential cyber security skills gaps and look at the impact of COVID-19 on the local cyber security industry.

AISA’s survey of members found that in NSW, of those who were employed before COVID-19, 70.4 per cent had experienced no change in their working status amid COVID-19 closures and physical distancing measures, while 7.8 per cent either were laid off, quit their job or had their employment contract terminated.

AISA also found that 34.4 per cent of NSW respondents had experienced longer working hours post COVID-19, while 11.8 per cent had experienced a reduction in their working load. Overall, 77.1 per cent of cyber security professionals surveyed were somewhat satisfied to very satisfied with their job.

Only 2 per cent believed they had too many cyber security staff while 28.9 per cent believed they had the right staffing levels.

When members in executive roles were surveyed on the impact of COVID-19, 80 per cent in NSW reported their organisations were under-resourced, including 15 per cent who stated they were very under-resourced.

On neurodiversity, 13.9 per cent of NSW respondents reported workplaces that actively integrated individuals with autism/neurodiversity. Gender diversity in the workplace relating to cyber security was reported by 52.6 percent in NSW to have either significantly increased or improved.

Regarding job advertisements, there were 484 cyber security positions posted online via Seek.com.au in May and 508 in June 2020, Australia-wide. New South Wales accounted for 142 of those in May and 189 in June, indicating a steady increase.

This study for cybersecurity professionals on cybersecurity skills and jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic finds that:

  • 13.9% of workplaces actively integrate autism/neurodiversity
  • 7.8% of cyber security professionals have lost jobs since COVID-19
  • 80% of executives believe their organisations are under resourced
  • 70% of cyber security professionals have an industry accreditation
  • 12.6% had their income negatively impacted post COVID-19
  • 52.6% believe gender diversity in the sector has improved
  • 34.4% are working longer hours post COVID-19
  • 96.5% are working from home
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