Microsoft pledges support to EU Cybersecurity Skills Academy

Photo of Vice President of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas and Microsoft Vice President for European Government Affairs, Nanna-Louise Linde, at the European Cyber Agora conference in Brussels

Today, at the European Cyber Agora conference in Brussels and in the presence of European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas, Microsoft pledged to support to the recently launched Cybersecurity Skills Academy by committing to train 100,000 learners in Europe with cybersecurity skills over a two-year period.

The past few years have seen a staggering number of cyberattacks targeting citizens, governments, and businesses. According to Microsoft’s latest Digital Defense Report, the volume of password attacks alone, the main source of identity compromise, has risen to an estimated 921 attacks every second – a 74% increase in just one year.

At the same time, we are facing a global cybersecurity skills crisis. The labor market lacks the necessary professionals with the skills to defend against cyberattacks, putting people, businesses, and governments around the world at risk. New cybersecurity legal and regulatory requirements will also require increased familiarity with such cyber challenges and corresponding compliance obligations.

Demand for cybersecurity skills has grown by an average of 35% over the past year. In 2022, the shortage of cybersecurity professionals in the EU ranged between 260,000 and 500,000, while the estimated cybersecurity workforce needs are estimated at 883,000 professionals. The EU cybersecurity industry also lacks diversity. Women, for example, currently only make up 20% of cybersecurity graduates and 19% of ICT specialists. This shortage affects companies of all sizes and across every industry, including SMEs, representing 99% of all businesses in the EU.

At Microsoft, we are encouraged by the launch of the Cybersecurity Skills Academy, aiming to increase the number of European professionals trained in cybersecurity and the EU’s recent call for enabling digital education and providing digital skills. We believe that cybersecurity is a fundamental set of skills for all people, not only IT professionals, and everyone should have the opportunity to acquire these skills.

We are committed to contribute to Cybersecurity Skills Academy and to offer our expertise and resources to help diversify the EU cyber workforce and train 100,000 European learners over a two-year period.

This is a bold and ambitious goal, but we are confident that we can achieve it together with our skilling partners across Europe and the learners themselves.

Our commitment and approach consist of the following:

  • We are offering cybersecurity training through our digital inclusion grant funded programs directed at our nonprofit partners across Europe, in particular our Cybersecurity Skilling Initiative, targeting underserved communities with a focus on women to address both the skills and gender gaps. This program also aims to equip learners with industry-recognized certifications to facilitate access to further learning and jobs in the industry.
  • Through our Microsoft Learn platform, we are offering self-paced, hands-on training on cybersecurity, available to any individual interested in starting a career in cybersecurity, as well as IT professionals looking to expand their cybersecurity skillset through additional resources such as technical documentation, best practices and practice exams.
  • Through our Skills for Jobs Learning Pathways, we are offering individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences the relevant foundational skills to access the most in-demand tech and tech-enabled jobs. In particular, the Systems Administrator pathway offers aspiring cybersecurity professionals the required skills to pursue a career in the industry (cloud administration, security, networking, server and operating systems basics, etc.) as well as, upon completion, a career essentials certificate to start their professional journey.


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