May 9, 2017 By Marc van Zadelhoff 2 min read

Cybercrime, already a $445 billion business, is showing no signs of slowing down. Combating organized, sophisticated cyber rings takes the right technology and talent. It gives me pause every time I consider the well-documented skills shortage in cybersecurity, which is expected to reach 1.5 million unfilled positions by 2020. Closing that gap is daunting, and requires us to find and nurture different types of talent in new ways.

Out With the Old, In With the New Collar

The private and public sectors have already started to develop some creative solutions. They are looking at new education models, boot camps and security certifications, and increasing the number of colleges and universities with cybersecurity programs.

At IBM, we have been addressing the skills gap by training pre-college students in technology, helping universities develop curricula and providing programs for early professionals. We are also contributing to this effort by creating what we call “new collar” jobs.

Today, we are releasing an executive report, “It’s Not Where You Start — It’s How You Finish: Addressing the Cybersecurity Skills Gap With a New Collar Approach,” that looks at IBM’s new collar approach to closing the skills gap. The report defines new collar roles, which prioritize skills, knowledge and a willingness to learn over degrees and traditional work experiences. It also outlines how enterprises can pursue a course similar to IBM.

A new collar approach is characterized by:

  • New employee profiles: Consider skills, not degrees earned, as a prerequisite to attract nontraditional candidates with diverse backgrounds and abilities.
  • New types of roles: Restructure work around the specific skill sets and knowledge required by emerging technologies.
  • New partnerships: Develop relationships with federal and state government programs, community colleges, K-12 school programs, nonprofits, cyber competitions and veterans training programs.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Fast Company recently noted that IBM and other technology companies are embracing new types of workers to fill the IT jobs of today and tomorrow. With an eye toward new collar jobs, enterprises can boost the number of potential candidates who can rapidly get to work, provide fresh and diverse ideas, and bring practical hands-on experience. Organizations that only rely on traditional four-year schools to meet their needs will continue to struggle with the cybersecurity skills gap.

It doesn’t matter where employees start their race; it’s all about how much they contribute and how far they are willing to go. What matters are their skills and experiences, not where they got them.

Stay Up-to-Date

Learn more about the new collar approach and get the latest insights on how IBM is helping security leaders tackle their toughest challenges, including the skills gap.

We invite you to download the complete executive report and also to watch the accompanying webinar, “It’s Not Where You Start – It’s How You Finish.”

Read the report: Addressing the Skills Gap with a New Collar Approach

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