Less IT professionals losing jobs post hacking amid talent crunch

Less senior IT professionals are losing their jobs after their organisations were hit by hackers in 2021 as compared to previous years, as the demand for cybersecurity specialists remains high and more firms now believe in nurturing and retaining talent rather than handing over pink slips, a new report showed on Tuesday.

There is a positive trend in how organisations respond to cybersecurity breaches globally, according to a Kaspersky study.

In 2021, almost half as many organisations laid off senior IT staff (7 per cent in 2021 compared to 16 per cent in 2018) and senior IT security roles (13 per cent compared to 18 per cent in 2018) if a data breach occurs.

The split of employees that could lose their job as a result of a cybersecurity breach has also changed.

In addition to senior IT and IT security roles, C-level executives are now half as likely to be exposed to dismissals – 10 per cent in 2021 compared to 11 per cent in 2018.

The decreasing trend is also relevant for non-IT senior staff. As a result, the overall split across IT and non-IT, senior and non-senior roles, became flatter than a few years ago, the findings showed.

“The transfer to remote work and processes has put increased pressure on the information security sector. With cybersecurity jobs in such high demand and skilled professionals in low supply, companies are realising the value of senior security executives and the need to plug the talent gap,” said Evgeniya Naumova, Executive VP, Corporate Business at Kaspersky.

According to Gartner, 40 per cent of boards will have a dedicated cybersecurity committee overseen by a qualified director by 2025.

With a continuing skills gap in the market, it should be important for organisations to save experts in their positions.

The demand for retaining and nurturing expertise is seen, for example, in budget planning.

Nearly 45 per cent of enterprises report the need to improve the level of specialist security expertise as the top reason to increase their IT security budget.

In fact, this is the second most common reason, followed only by increased complexity of IT infrastructure (49 per cent).

Furthermore, by investing in internal specialists, employers are interested in retaining their knowledge within the company so that employees could leverage their skills in future, the report noted.

“The highest possible level of cybersecurity depends on an adequate strategy, represented by IT security experts,” said Sebastian Artz, Head of Cyber and Information Security at Bitkom e.V., Germany’s digital association.

Question paper leak: Pune Police nab Maha Commissioner of Exams

In a big swoop, the state Cyber Police have arrested the Commissioner of Maharashtra State Council of Examination (MSCE) for alleged malpractices in the Teachers Eligibility Test (TET), officials said here on Friday.

“The MSCE Commissioner Tukaram Supe has been arrested by the Cyber Cell of Pune Police following his questioning in the alleged malpractices in the TET exams,” Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta told mediapersons.

The TET exam malpractices came to the fore during the probe into the leak of an exam paper of the Maharashtra Housing & Area Development Authority (MHADA) that was scheduled for December 12.

After the leak came to light Housing Minister Dr. Jitendra Awhad announced the postponement of the exams even as the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party slammed the government for the lapses.

At least six persons have been arrested in connection with the MHADA paper leak and the investigations also threw up the TET matter while Supe was picked up on Thursday.

Police said that hall tickets of some TET candidates were recovered from an accused in the MHADA exams scam case, Dr. Pritesh Deshmukh, Director, GA Softwares, which was entrusted with the work of preparing the question papers and related works.

In the past few months, the state has witnessed exam paper leaks of at least three government exams of the health department, the MHADA and the TET, with some comparing it to the infamous Vyapam Scam in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh.

Further investigations are underway into the TET and MHADA exam paper leaks with further arrests not ruled out as the government has decided certain changes to prevent more such leaks in future.

Don’t impose Kannada language on degree students until further orders: HC

The Karnataka High Court has directed the state government not to make Kannada language compulsory for degree students until further orders.

“The state government at this stage cannot insist on making the Kannada language compulsory. Students who have already chosen to study the language can do so,” a division bench headed by Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi ordered on Thursday.

However, the bench also observed that, with respect to making Kannada language subject compulsory for higher studies in the backdrop of implementing National Education Policy (NEP), required consideration.

The High Court was hearing a PIL filed by Samskara Bharathi (Karnataka) Trust, three institutions promoting Sanskrit and five students on the matter.

Advocate General Prabhuling Navadgi brought to the notice of the court that the five students who have filed PIL in the case have studied Kannada language till class 12 and they can’t have any objections while studying at higher levels.

The counsel for the students, Sridhar Prabhu, argued that the court had already asked the government not to hasten the matter of making Kannada language mandatory for graduation courses.

He also sought directions from the court as students have taken admissions this academic year.

Additional Solicitor General M.B. Nargund informed the court that he is not in a position to explain the stand of the Central government on making Kannada language mandatory for higher studies as part of implementation of the NEP.

He sought four weeks time to file a detailed counter affidavit by the Centre in this regard.

Employment outlook at a record high of 8 years

Employers continue to show optimism for the second consecutive quarter according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey of 3020 employers.

64 per cent expect to increase their staffing levels, 15 per cent anticipate a decrease and 20 per cent do not anticipate any change, resulting in a seasonally adjusted Net Employment Outlook of +49 per cent which is a record high in 8 years. When compared to the same period last year, hiring sentiments have improved by a whopping +43 while there is a 5 percentage points growth when compared to the last quarter.

Employers in large organisations report the most optimistic outlook with 51 per cent intending to hire in the first quarter compared to 25 per cent in small companies. Employers in the North report the strongest hiring intentions for Q1 followed by South and West.

To provide a wider coverage of the market segments, ManpowerGroup has included four new sectors in this report like IT and Technology, Primary Production, Restaurants and Hotels and Not for Profit increasing the overall number of industry sectors’ analysis from seven to eleven.

All eleven industry sectors surveyed report positive intentions to add to their payrolls. ManpowerGroup also surveyed employers on their vaccination implementation and work arrangement plans.

Companies in the IT, Technology, Telecom, Communications and Media sector report hiring outlook of +60 per cent followed by 56 per cent in Restaurants and Hotels sector.

Hiring forecast is least optimistic in the Construction and Primary Production sectors, with a Net Employment Outlook of +29 per cent and +28 per cent respectively.

91 per cent of employers surveyed will mandate double vaccination and require proof from staff. Corporates expect to adopt hybrid working for 51 per cent of Finance & Accounting and 49 per cent of Human Resource staff while 45 per cent of Production and Manufacturing staff is expected to be at the workplace all the time.

Commenting on the findings, Sandeep Gulati, Managing Director, ManpowerGroup India said, “India registered a V-shaped recovery owing to increased consumer spending, educational sector opening up and the government’s sustained efforts to accelerate vaccination coverage thereby breaking the virus chain. The boost in hiring outlook reflects employers’ sustained confidence in achieving a post-pandemic recovery. The “Great Resignation” is additionally impacting the hiring sentiments in companies especially in the IT and Technology sectors.

37% employees feel more connected while working remotely

At least 61 per cent employees do not feel isolated while working remotely, while 37 per cent of remote workers manage to communicate even better with their colleagues this way, a report said on Wednesday.

According to the global cybersecurity company Kaspersky, the extensive use of non-corporate communication services enables better connections but increases the level of risk from unmonitored IT resources.

“Shadow IT solutions do not let security or IT specialists gain the complete picture of the company’s digital infrastructure,” Andrey Evdokimov, Head of Information Security at Kaspersky, said in a statement.

“That situation results in increased risk because defenders do not consider unsanctioned tools when developing threat models, data flow diagrams, and planning,” Evdokimov added.

During 2020, people and organisations have been through many changes. The epidemiological situation and subsequent lockdown restrictions around the globe seriously affected the communication aspect of people’s private and working life.

The new conditions created different challenges and social isolation along with a lack of communication with colleagues — these were among the most discussed concerns for remote employees.

While the majority of employees have successfully transitioned to the digital communications era, a substantial number of respondents could not adopt the remote way of life and still feel isolated (39 per cent) while working at home, said the survey that included 4,303 IT workers from 31 countries.

Given the fact that loneliness contributes to employee burnout, not less than other demotivating factors like exhaustion and anxiety, this statistic should be a matter of concern for business executives.

Afghan women protest for rights to employment, education

The delay in providing right to education and employment to women by the Afghan Taliban led interim government in Afghanistan has triggered protests and uproar in the country.

On Sunday, dozens of Afghan women took to the streets of Kabul again, demanding their right to learn and seek employment under the new Islamic Emirates rule.

Chanting slogans for their rights, protesters also lashed out at the international community for what they called ignoring the dire need for provision of basic rights to women in the country.

“We can tolerate hunger, can live without food, but we cannot tolerate injustice. We ask for freedom and justice in our country”, said one of the protesters.

The latest protest is part of a series of protests that the Afghan women have been staging since the time Taliban took control of Afghanistan.

In the recent past, the Taliban security officials manhandled female protesters while media persons covering the protest were also assaulted and kept under custody.

The Afghan Taliban interim government later announced through its Ministry of Interior (MoI) that demonstrations without the permission of the relevant ministry would not be allowed.

Later, a pro-Taliban female rally was held in Kabul, where women chanted pro-Taliban slogans and expressed their support to the newly imposed Islamic law in the country.

The Taliban claims of ensuring provision of all basic rights to women as per the teachings under the Islamic rule of law, will be provided to its female citizens, including right to work and education, they said.

Recently, a girls’ school in Herat was opened while Taliban claimed that female nurses and doctors have been coming to work without any problems.

“The Islamic Emirate does not cause discriminatory treatment for any part of the society, the problems and issues existed, we promise to resolve the problems,” said Inamullah Samangani, deputy spokesperson of the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan (IEA).

But many believe that majority of women are still prohibited and restricted from employment or education.

“Women are half of the society, they have rights, there should be opportunities for learning and working based on the customs and culture of Afghanistan”, said Abdul Qadir, a local resident of Kabul.

Kerala schools reopen after 20 months

Schools in Kerala reopened on Monday after remaining closed for 20 months due to the Covid pandemic.

Since attending offline classes is not compulsory, only a million of the 4.2 million students returned to the classrooms.

Schools have been directed to strictly follow the bio-bubble model besides other Covid protocols.

The state level inauguration of a ‘back to school’ programme was inaugurated by Kerala Education Minister V.Sivankutty at the Cotton School Girl’s School in the capital city.

Similar inaugurations were seen in the other 13 districts of the state a well, while some schools held their own functions to welcome students.

Sivankutty said since the Covid threat is not fully over, all mandatory protocols have to be strictly complied with.

“For around two weeks, it will be a readjustment to the school and classrooms. We will be observing how things are and have regular meetings to discuss and debate on how situation can be improved, even while caution is maintained. For the time being everything will be under a close watch.”

Across the state one common thing was school students were definitely happy to be back.

“We had started to get bored of the online mode of study so are happy to be back- though our smiles hidden behind the masks. Now we wait for the classrooms to be full, as at the moment, it’s only half or less than that,” said a group of students in the capital city.

In a rare sight, state Agriculture Minister P. Prasad came to drop her daughter at a state-run school in the state capital.

“I’m here as a parent of my daughter Aruna of grade 5. We all are happy that children are back as children. The government has ensured that things are in place as the schools reopen after the long break,” said Prasad.

A teacher in Pathanamthitta district said she could not wait to get back to the classroom and be with her students.

“It’s probably the first time we are having a celebration like this, as Monday also marks Kerala’s 65th birthday. All of us are really excited and happy to be back,” she said.

Popular comedian and character actor Jagdeesh said that his grand-daughter is attending her class in the state capital.

“We have come to know that of the 25 students in her class, only nine parents have given their consent for physical classes.”

For the time being, in many schools students of each class have been divided into different bio-bubble groups and each group will have to come to school either twice or thrice in a week.

Even though its mandatory for all teachers and non-teaching staff to be vaccinated, according to the latest figures, as many as 2,282 teachers in the state are yet to get vaccinated.

In a Kozhikode district school, a robot welcomed every student with sanitiser and a balloon.

However, while most of the schools have reopened, 25 schools in Kuttanad area in Alappuzha district could not, owing to heavy rain.

“We were all ready to return, but then our teacher called up asking us to wait as all the classes are submerged. We are sad,” said a student who is impatient to return to school.

Meanwhile, the tailoring shops witnessed a heavy rush with students continously walking in either to get new uniforms stitched or get the old ones altered.

LinkedIn adds new job filters to find remote work

Professional networking platform LinkedIn is introducing dedicated remote, hybrid and on-site search filters to help users on their next job hunt.

Users will see the labels when using the social network’s job search and Open to Work features, Engadget reported.

In the latter case, taking advantage of the filters will privately inform recruiters of the type of work you are looking for, which the company said should help the right job find you.

At the same time, the professional networking platform is adding similar filters for company pages, allowing them to indicate things like their vaccine policies and return-to-office plans, the report said.

In testing the filters, LinkedIn said it saw more than 70 per cent of searches involve people looking for remote-only roles.

It’s a testament to how uncertain the pandemic has made every return-to-office plan.

Even companies Amazon, Google and Facebook have struggled to find ones that stick. And so it’s no surprise most LinkedIn users are looking for opportunities where they can continue working from home, as per the report.

Govt has been very fair: SC on Centre’s decision to conduct NEET-SS exam by old pattern

After being pushed by the Supreme Court, the Centre on Wednesday told the top court that NEET-Super Speciality exam scheduled in November this year will be held as per the old question pattern.

Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, representing the Centre, submitted before a bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud that in the larger interest of students, the government has decided that the revised NEET-SS exam syllabus will be introduced from 2022 — the new question pattern will be applicable from next year.

The bench replied that the “government has been very fair”.

Bhati said the exam scheduled this year will be held as per the old pattern.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing a petitioner, submitted that this should not in any way imply that the court is accepting the revised pattern exam for the next year.

The bench recorded that the Centre states that decision has been taken in consultation with the National Medical Commission (NMC) and National Board of Examinations (NBE) and taking note of students’ interest who would have commenced preparation for NEET-SS, before the change of pattern was notified.

The bench said the Centre has stated that the modified pattern will be in effect from academic year 2022-23. “Since the grievance addressed under Article 32, and in these circumstances petitions under Article 32 are disposed of”, said the bench.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court pulling up the Centre on the changes in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test-Super Specialty (NEET-SS) 2021 pattern, said the impression and message which will go out is that the medical education and medical regulation in the country has become a business and it appears the entire haste is for filling the vacant seats.

On the aspect of syllabus change, the bench told the NBE counsel, “What was the hurry. You have an examination pattern which had been going on from 2018 to 2020.”

The top court said: “The impression we get is that the medical education has become a business and medical regulation has also become a business”.

The bench also comprising Justices Vikram Nath and B.V. Nagarathna said this would become a tragedy for the medical education in the country.

Defending the pattern change, the Centre had proposed deferring the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) Super Speciality exam for 2021 by a period of two months.

The top court was hearing a plea by Prateek Rastogi and 40 postgraduate qualified doctors, who challenged the abrupt last-minute changes, contending that they were made to favour the general medicine candidates.

Unemployment, Covid top most worries for urban Indians: Survey

According to the Ipsos ‘What Worries the World’ global monthly survey, unemployment (42 per cent) and coronavirus (42 per cent) have emerged as the biggest worries of Urban Indians — both tied at the top spot.

Compared to the previous month, coronavirus has declined by 5 per cent in worry levels, unemployment has increased in worry levels by 2 per cent.

According to the survey, urban Indians are most worried about unemployment (42 per cent), coronavirus (42 per cent), financial/ political corruption (28 per cent), crime and violence (25 per cent), poverty and social inequality (24 per cent) and education (21 per cent).

Elaborating on the findings, Amit Adarkar, CEO, Ipsos India said, “We see uptick in worry levels for unemployment by 2 per cent, while worry levels for Covid-19 has seen a slight dip of 5 per cent — but now both are placed neck to neck — Covid impacted the job market considerably due to the shutdown and restrictions — now with the cautious reopening, worry levels around jobs have not abated — demand far outstrips supply — and those who have lost their jobs, many are still struggling to gain a foothold. Covid-19 too is far from over. It is a case of cause and effect.”

The survey showed that global citizens worry about coronavirus (36 per cent), unemployment (31 per cent), poverty and social inequality (31 per cent), financial and political corruption (27 per cent) and crime and violence (26 per cent).

India is the 2nd most optimistic market with at least 65 per cent urban Indians believing the country is moving in the right direction. Saudi Arabia retains its title as the most optimistic market, with at least 90 per cent citizens believing their country is moving in the right direction.

Global citizens on the contrary continue to remain pessimistic with at least 65 per cent believing their country is on the wrong track. The gloomiest markets that felt their country was on the wrong track were Columbia (89 per cent), South Africa (85 per cent) and Peru (81 per cent ).

Ipsos’ What Worries the World survey is conducted in 28 countries around the world. It is based on 20,012 interviews conducted between August 20 and September 3, 2021 among adults aged 18-74 in the US, South Africa, Turkey, Israel and Canada and age 16-74 in all other countries. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.