The government has identified a large gap in cybersecurity skills and is currently working with other departments within departments to try to fill it.
In a written parliamentary question and answer, the Department of Communications and Digital said that key actors in the banking space, including the Banking Sector Education and Training Authority (BankSETA) and the South African Bank Risk Authority, had identified a severe cybersecurity skills gap. Information Center (SABRIC).
To address this issue, the two organizations have teamed up to develop the National Cybersecurity Skills Framework to guide the training of cybersecurity professionals in the country.
In its 2022/23 Industry Skills Plan. BankSETA said the country needs to pay more attention to the new regulatory framework for prudential and behavioral bodies, with cybersecurity risk to be addressed by all banks, ensuring they have the appropriate skills to manage it. .
“Cybercrime as a risk to banks has grown exponentially, and there is a growing demand for cybersecurity skills,” it said.
“BankSETA is partnering with SABRIC to develop cybersecurity professional qualifications in the sector. The information provided by SABRIC helps shape the cybersecurity skills landscape. It also plays an important role in achieving all the results of the National Skills Development Program.
The group stated that special attention should be given to developing skills to:
- chief cybersecurity specialists;
- Compliance officers;
- Refresher programs for Basel IV;
- A range of careers in cybersecurity.
As part of the plan, the group stated that new technologies and digital literacy programs are being developed and tested in the country and that it is taking steps to ensure that the necessary skills are available.
The programs will specifically focus on registering and upgrading the skills of unemployed youth, as well as funding scholarships and other programs for employers in the sector to address skills shortages. The group plans:
- The digital literacy program, introduced in 2021, is being piloted and will be rolled out;
- It will fund demand-driven skills development initiatives in technology, digitalization, cybersecurity and analytics that employers cannot access through existing BANKSETA projects. This can be done with (WIL, Learningerships, TVET, UoTs and PIVOTAL programs);
- Enroll unemployed students in a number of relevant training programs;
- Register employed and unemployed beneficiaries in a range of PIVOTAL programs to meet the demand of the banking sector;
- Enroll unemployed youth in job preparation programs focusing on scarce occupations and skills gaps;
- Enroll unemployed students in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grade improvement program;
- Help TVET college students access work-integrated learning opportunities through partnerships with TVET;
- Help University of Technology (UoT) students access work-integrated learning opportunities through collaboration with UoT;
- Fund scholarships for university students and universities of technology in scarce occupations and skill gaps;
- Provide scholarship funding for NSFAS support;
- Provide employers with funding to upgrade or retrain workers whose positions have become or will become redundant as a result of digitalization;
- Encourage and support small businesses by funding scarce jobs and skill gaps;
- Provide scholarships to SMEs to develop the necessary business skills to sustain their business;
- Encourage and support cooperatives by funding training in cooperative institutions and members of cooperatives;
- Support skills development for South African banking leaders expanding into Africa;
- Register students for graduate and doctoral scholarships and support the development of graduate education leaders, which highlights the most difficult jobs in the banking sector to fill.
Difficult to fill vacancies
As part of the 2022-2023 Skills Assessment, BankSETA has identified the currently hardest-to-fill jobs in the banking sector (HTFV). This includes:
“Information technology related jobs make up a significant number of HTFVs,” BankSETA said. “This may be due to the increased demand for digitalization in response to the demands of remote work. The very nature of IT is project oriented, demand is entirely dependent on the availability of projects.
“The lack of relevant experience and education of candidates applying for vacancies remains the two main reasons employers fail to fill vacancies. The two main reasons account for 43% of the reasons given.”
While BankSETA has acknowledged that the lack of available jobs in South Africa is a huge problem, it has stated that this is not the only issue when it comes to unemployment.
“A key underlying problem is also an inadequately educated and experienced workforce, which is a major problem in post-secondary education and training,” the report said, adding that this also persists in the banking sector.
The significant decline in academic achievement in math and physics over the past few years has highlighted this problem, and the group added that it was a matter of deep concern.
“This significant drop in success indicates that fewer students are able to do research related to data science, statistics and other high-level technology skills. If the school system is designed to help the economy prepare for the 4IR and 5IR exams, there is cause for deep concern.