A new survey has shown that not only are the majority of adults concerned about cyber security threats, but many are willing to consider returning to school to pursue a cyber security education.

Of the 1,004 adults surveyed, 41% said they would probably or definitely consider returning to school to earn a certificate or degree to prepare for a cyber security job. However, willingness rose to 72% if current employers were willing to pay for respondents’ education in preparation for an in-house cyber security job. Those respondents most willing to consider pursuing an employer-funded cyber education were between the ages of 35 and 44.

“These findings are great news for employers seeking to address the cyber skills gap within their organisations yet facing recruitment challenges,” said Melissa Marcello, associate vice president at Champlain College Online. “Our survey shows that employers have a ready and willing pool of future cyber experts within their current workforce, if they’re willing to provide the resources and support to upskill and train them.”

Key findings from the study

Overall, 88% of surveyed adults said they were very or somewhat concerned about cyber security threats impacting them personally, with older respondents showing greater concern than younger ones. A full 50% of respondents ages 54 to 72 said they were “very concerned” about such threats.

When presented with various roles that schools and universities could play in reducing cyber threats and improving information security, 90% of respondents felt that higher education institutions should ensure all college students, regardless of major, have a basic cyber security education.

Feeling that it was too late to consider a career change was the primary reason identified by respondents for not considering returning to school to prepare for a cyber security job. About one-fifth (22%) of respondents felt that way, including many younger respondents in prime career-changing years.

Women (13%) were significantly more likely than men (6%) to say they didn’t think they had what it takes to be successful in a technical field. In response to this, an overwhelming majority of respondents (85%) believed that more should be done to encourage women to enter the cyber security field.

Source: Help Net Security