South Korea bolsters national cybersecurity workforce statistics

By Hongeun Im, The Readable
Feb. 19, 2024 9:05PM GMT+9 Updated Feb. 21, 2024 9:00PM GMT+9

South Korea’s Statistics Korea (KOSTAT) announced on Monday its plans to compile statistics on the cybersecurity workforce. This initiative, requested by the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT), will be included in the “National Statistics Development Project.”

The MSIT’s request for “cybersecurity workforce status statistics” is tied to the creation of the Information Security Industrial Skills Council (ISC) on February 21. The Korea Information Security Industry Association (KISIA), the project management agency for the National Statistics Development Project, explained to The Readable that the establishment of the new council necessitates a precise understanding of the cybersecurity workforce’s status and statistics for effective training and management.

In the organized framework of compiling national statistics, the cybersecurity industry has been categorized within the information technology section, under the management of the Korea Software Industry Association (KOSA), which operates the Information Security ISC responsible for organizing human resources development programs. Following the request from the MSIT and KISIA for a dedicated cybersecurity council last year, the government has been working towards establishing an independent ISC specifically for cybersecurity. KISIA emphasized to The Readable the ongoing critical need for cybersecurity experts.

KOSTAT has pointed out that statistics on the status of the cybersecurity workforce will be essential for developing policies that focus on implementing cybersecurity skill training programs, expanding the capacity of the workforce, and improving the utilization of experts. This effort is also linked to the government’s 78th task among 120 national objectives: “Building the world’s best network and accelerating digital innovation.” This strategic alignment is the rationale behind its inclusion in the National Statistics Development Project.

The National Statistics Development Project provides budgetary and technical support to organizations in need of statistics that support national tasks. Since its inception in 2016, the project has resulted in the creation of 27 new statistical measures, the enhancement of 10 existing statistics, and the establishment of 18 new statistical agencies. KOSTAT explained to The Readable that the involvement of the MSIT in requesting assistance marks a departure from past practices where KOSTAT was the sole entity selecting projects, which underscores the urgent need for these statistics.

The representative from KOSTAT further clarified that the MSIT’s request pertained to improvement and development plans for statistics that KOSTAT had previously submitted to policy departments. These proposals were part of the “Statistics-based Policy Support Project,” an initiative designed to suggest the refinement or development of statistics relevant to the 120 national tasks announced by the government.

The Statistics-based Policy Support Project is aimed at providing guidance on utilizing statistics for policymaking. It accomplishes this by supplying existing statistics, recommending improvements to current statistics, and suggesting the creation of new statistical measures. Since its launch last year, the project has provided 203 statistical recommendations to 12 organizations.

Lee Hyoung-il, the Commissioner of KOSTAT, stated, “The Statistics-based Policy Support Project and the National Statistics Development Project enable us to supply high-quality, timely statistics for policy ministries to utilize. We are dedicated to actively supporting national tasks with a robust statistical foundation to maximize their outcomes.”

The cover image of this article was designed by Areum Hwang. This article was edited by Dain Oh and copyedited by Arthur Gregory Willers.

Notification: This article was updated to include the details of the creation of the Information Security Industrial Skills Council on February 21. The information was provided by the Korea Information Security Industry Association to The Readable.

Hongeun Im is a reporting intern for The Readable. Motivated by her aspirations in cybersecurity and aided by the language skills she honed while living in the United Kingdom, Im aims to write about security issues affecting the Korean Peninsula and lead more people to become interested in cybersecurity. She attends Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Her interest in computer science led her to participate in the World Friends Korea volunteer program, where she taught Python at the Digital Government Center in Laos and at Al-Balqa Applied University in Jordan.