Government cyber recruitment ad sparks online backlash

  • Photo: (c) Cyber First/UK Government

    A UK government advertisement has sparked online backlash for appearing to suggest that those in the performing arts should retrain into cyber-security.

    Belfast and London have rapidly grown in the past few years to become global cyber-security hubs, and the competition for qualified staff in the field is at an all-time high. The UK Government has made cyber-skills one of its core areas to promote, with CyberFirst courses for young people and those aiming to retrain into the field.

    A government advertising campaign promoting the CyberFirst programme has been called "tone deaf" and "dystopian" after screenshots of the advertisements went viral on social media this morning. The series of adverts feature photos of people in various jobs with the captions "[Name]'s next job could be in cyber. (He/she just doesn't know it yet)" and "Rethink. Reskill. Reboot."

    The particular advert that has caused outrage shows a ballet dancer, and has been slammed for suggesting that a talented individual in the performing arts sector should retrain into tech. The advert follows weeks of complaints that the UK Government is not supporting the performing arts industry, which has been largely closed since the pandemic hit and is at risk of failing.

    Government financial support against coronavirus has shifted from supporting all businesses to supporting those businesses which are currently viable and able to function. The government's response to industries temporarily facing difficulty due to coronavirus was to suggest people just retrain into other jobs.

    Source: Twitter, Twitter, Twitter

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    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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