Growing Cybersecurity Concerns at Work: Survey Shows Younger Employees Feel Unprepared

May 10, 2024by TNTMAX

As technology keeps advancing, concerns about cybersecurity are getting more serious, especially at work. A recent survey by Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) shows that many American employees are anxious about cyber threats. They fear that their company might become a target (53%), and some worry they might unknowingly make their workplace vulnerable to attacks (34%). Interestingly, younger workers, like Gen Z and Millennials, feel less prepared to handle these threats compared to older colleagues.

The survey, which asked 1,000 employed Americans about cybersecurity, highlights a significant difference in readiness between generations. Gen Z, who grew up with technology, are feeling less sure about spotting phishing attempts, a common tactic hackers use to trick people. And with AI now making phishing emails even trickier to spot, the challenge is getting tougher. Only 31% of Gen Z feel really confident about spotting these scams. This is a big drop from 40% in 2022.

What’s worrying is that younger workers aren’t just unsure about defending against cyber threats. They also don’t fully understand how to report suspicious activities to their company. Even though their company has processes in place, almost two-thirds of Gen Z and Millennial employees aren’t sure how to report cyber incidents properly.

The fear of messing up cybersecurity weighs heavily on the minds of younger employees. Many worry they could lose their job if they accidentally make their company vulnerable to an attack. For instance, 64% of Gen Z and 58% of Millennials fear they might get fired if they don’t protect their company from a cyber attack.

But it’s not all bad news. Despite feeling unprepared, a lot of Gen Z workers (86%) think they know quite a bit about cybersecurity. This suggests there’s a chance to help them feel more confident by giving them extra training and support. 

To tackle these challenges, businesses need to create a culture where everyone feels confident about cybersecurity. With AI evolving fast, regular training is essential to help employees deal with new threats. While most employees see the importance of this training, only 62% say their company focuses on teaching them how to use AI safely.

To bridge this gap and boost confidence, businesses can follow some tips from the EY Cybersecurity team:

  • Regular Training:

    Keep training sessions going all year to keep employees sharp and ready to handle cyber threats.

  • Fun Learning:

    Make learning about cybersecurity fun by using games and competitions. This keeps employees engaged and helps them remember what they learn.

  • Work Together:

    Make cybersecurity a team effort. Instead of feeling like they’re being watched, employees should feel like they’re working with the company to keep things safe.

  • Hands-On Learning:

    Give employees a chance to try out AI tools themselves. This helps them understand how AI works and what risks it might bring.

  • Lead by Example:

    Company leaders should show they’re responsible with AI. This builds trust and makes everyone feel more confident about using new technology.

By giving employees the right training and support, businesses can help them feel more confident and better prepared to face cyber challenges, making the digital world safer for everyone.