UAE Youth Lead Region in Cyber Security Awareness


Emirati youth are particularly attuned to the importance of tackling cyber threats, according to a 2017 survey by Raytheon International. Of the 4,000 young people interviewed in the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the United States, 72 percent of the Emiratis had received career guidance in the cyber security field — double the global average of 34 percent.

Seventy-percent of young Emiratis reported reading or hearing a news account related to cyber attacks, compared to a global average of 48 percent. These numbers “demonstrate the emphasis laid by the government, by academia and industry” on building awareness of these issues, said Shahzad Zafar, cyber security director at Raytheon’s branch in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

After identifying a global “cyber talent gap” in 2015 of 1 million cyber security-related jobs, Raytheon commissioned surveys in 2015 and 2017 to gauge young people’s beliefs about cyber security and develop cyber security professionals.

Survey results highlighted one of the key causes of the gap: a lack of training. Though 73 percent of participants said they were aware of the importance of the field, 48 percent felt they needed additional training to enter the workforce. And Emiratis appeared uniquely qualified to identify a training gap: 84 percent of those surveyed in the UAE were “aware of the typical job responsibilities of the cyber security professionals,” compared to just 45 percent worldwide, Zafar said.

“More needs to be done internationally to provide youth with the training they need to enable them to take up a cyber security-related job in the public or private sector,” Zafar told Nation Shield magazine.