Employers seeking to fill the cyber-skills job gap should turn their attention to “New Collar” workers, David Jarvis, security and CIO lead of IBM’s Institute for Business Value (IBV), told TechRepublic’s Dan Patterson in an interview on Monday.

Jarvis explained that the purpose of IBM’s IBV is to develop research based on leadership on emerging businesses and technology and how they interact. Recently, Jarvis has been focused on cyber-security and security education, specifically best practices for security leaders.

With the significant rise in new technology this past decade, Patterson notes the particular relevance of cyber-security and the growing cyber-skills job gap.

Jarvis explained that IBM is addressing both concerns with their “New Collar approach,” focusing on sets of individuals from a variety of backgrounds, not just four year institutions. Not all high tech jobs require a four year university background, rather, a specific set of skills, Jarvis said. By hiring individuals based on their cyber skills, the tech industry gives more people–like military or community college grads–the opportunity to enter the cyber workforce, thus, closing the gap, Jarvis said.

Jarvis outlined the five “aptitudes” employers should look for in cyber security professionals:

  1. An explorer–curious and investigative.
  2. A problem solver–analytical and methodical.
  3. A student of the discipline–a lifelong student with the ever-changing tech world.
  4. A guardian–ethical and reliable.
  5. A consultant–flexible and communicative.

“The threat isn’t going to go away. There are more attack platforms, more attack services, more devices that can be hacked,” Jarvis said. “But having the right talent is huge. It’s trying to do everything that we can, to go to every source that we can go to, to get the right people that are going to help our organizations, whether they are big industry or small.

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