KUALA LUMPUR: There is an increasing demand for cybersecurity talent in the country as the government looks to position Malaysia as one of the leading countries in Asean for cybersecurity resources.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo (pic) said the cybersecurity industry is expected to enjoy “phenomenal growth” within the next few years.

“Asean’s cybersecurity spending is forecasted to grow 15% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) between 2015 and 2025.

“Malaysia is one of the top three Asean countries that are expected to contribute 75% of the cybersecurity services market share by 2025,” he said at the launch of Asia Pacific University (APU)’s Cybersecurity Talent Zone yesterday.

He said the development of new cybersecurity specialists was not happening at a fast enough pace, though it was encouraging to note that 21% of Malaysia’s cybersecurity specialists were women, as compared to the 11% in the United States.

The demand for cybersecurity-­related jobs, he said, would hit 10,500 by 2020, according to a Frost and Sullivan survey.

Gobind said Malaysia would be focusing on empowerment programmes to nurturing cybersecurity talent such as encouraging STEM graduates to take up cybersecurity as a career.

For instance, he said, a pilot programme was set up to recruit 240 students for the cybersecurity industry from the MDEC Premier Digital Tech Universities by this year.

Gobind said the government was also looking into collaboration with the private sector to churn out more students to enter the industry.

“It is crucial to establish a sustainable model among the various government agencies, academia and private institutions towards talent capability building,” he said.

Malaysia Digital Economy Corpo­ration chief executive officer Datuk Yasmin Mahmood said it was forecasted that by 2020, the industry would see a talent gap of about 6,000 given its current trajectory.

“The challenge is having the right quantity and quality of cybersecurity professionals,” she said.

Yasmin said in APU, there is a 300% employability rate for cybersecurity students, with them getting two or three job offers as cybersecurity professionals before they graduated.