Posted on November 05, 2015

According to a new survey commissioned by Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), adults and youths in the Middle East region are more confident in their knowledge of and education in cyber-related issues than in the rest of the world, and feel they have a good understanding of the elements involved in cyber security.

The survey,titled “Securing Our Future: Closing the Cyber Talent Gap,” showed that higher percentages of youths in Qatar (84%), the UAE (70%) and Saudi Arabia (82%) feel that they have enough understanding to keep their data and personal information safe on the Internet than the global average of 65%. Moreover, 53% of GCC respondents expressed awareness of the job tasks involved with a profession in cybersecurity – 13% higher than the global average.

“I have witnessed an incredible passion for the development of secure IT and cyber capabilities during my time in Qatar,”said Yezen Munir, President of Raytheon International in Qatar. “In particular, as it aligns with the country’s 2030 vision and supports a knowledge based economy, building upon these cyber security abilities will be of incredibly high value to Qatar, as well as other nations in the region, as we continue to see a growing amount of cyber threats that will need to be effectively mitigated.”

Qatar ahead of the curve [].jpgSponsored by Raytheon and NCSA,and conducted by U.S. Zogby Analytics, the survey was based on responses from nearly 4,000 young adults ages 18-26 from the GCC region, Europe, Asia Pacific and the United States. Respondents, including 606 from the GCC region alone, answered a variety of questions about their education, backgrounds, interests and, most importantly, professional goals and perceptions.

Among the survey’s findings, the results indicate disparity between GCC citizens’ comfort with their level of education and competence in cyber, and their interest in seeking a career in cyber fields. The survey indicated that an average of 42% of men and women in the GCC were less likely than a year ago to consider a career where they could make the Internet safer and more secure, in comparison to only 16% globally. Moreover, this is slightly more significant when women are singled out, with 40% of GCC women being less likely to consider a cyber-security profession, as compared to only 13% of women globally who would not pursue a cyber career path.

Nonetheless, the survey illustrated that many young GCC adults possess and want to utilize skills that cybersecurity careers require, such as data analysis (42%), programming (32%), problem solving (28%) and management (48%). On top of that, 79% of GCC respondents said that they have pursued activities that would give them an edge in cyber fields, such as cyber competitions, scholarship awards, internship positions, mentor programs or job fairs.

“The GCC has a growing reservoir of talent whose skills can be well utilized in cyber security positions,” said Ward Heinke, director, cyber strategy and defense solutions, Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services. “Particularly with young women, there is a tremendous number with the relevant education and skills for a rewarding and successful career in cyber security.” Ward concluded: “What needs to be better communicated to young people entering the job market across the Gulf is the richness of opportunities in pursuing a profession in cyber security, which is also something that Gulf nations desire to further support their national security and economic growth.”

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