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UK’s acute cybersecurity talent shortage: A ticking timebomb during COVID-19

UK’s acute cybersecurity talent shortage: A ticking timebomb during COVID-19

Enterprise SecurityTop Stories
Cybersecurity: Building business resilience

Half of companies do not have adequate cybersecurity provision to allow for 100% remote working. And whilst 58% of tech hiring managers list info-security as their most required skillset right now – only 10% of tech professionals in the UK possess the right skills to help plug the gap.

The findings come from a new report by global recruiter, Robert Walters, and data provider, Vacancysoft, called Cybersecurity: Building business resilience, which highlights how the problem is far worse on a European level, with 70% of companies stating that they do not have a sufficient cybersecurity team and are having to deal with a talent shortage of 140,000 across the continent.

Darius Goodarzi, Principal – Information Security and IT Risk at Robert Walters, said: “The move to remote working, cloud-based file sharing, rise in video calls and cashless transactions has highlighted to all businesses the importance of adequate IT security to allow for business continuity and protection from online breaches.

“In fact, there are over 65,000 attempted cyberattacks on UK SMEs every day – with around 4,500 being successful at a cost of £2.48 million per instance.

“Given the cost – both financially and reputationally to businesses – it is surprising to hear that cybersecurity only accounts for 5.6% of total IT spend in a company.”

Job roles on the rise

There are approximately 43,000 professionals working in a fulltime cybersecurity related role in the UK – representing a 37% increase in employee jobs over the last two years.

Despite hiring freezes across the board during lockdown – including general IT roles which were down by 40% for the first half of this year – cybersecurity bucked the trend and job volumes increased by 6%.

James Chaplin, CEO of Vacancysoft, said: “The rapid pace of Digital Transformation brought on by COVID-19 led to a surge in recruitment at the beginning of this year. As a result, cybersecurity is becoming an ever-greater part of the technology function.”

Whereas in 2018 cybersecurity accounted for 3.5% of technology vacancies, so far this year it is above 5% – and this growth is forecast to continue.

Vacancy growth by region

With the UK long claiming its status as one of the world’s leading digital nations – home to exceptional talent, cutting-edge innovation and rapid growth – it is not surprising to see the rise in infosec vacancies on British soil. Rather than off-shore roles to international countries such as India where tech talent is in abundance, the trend here has been to nearshore to regions outside of London – with the north dominating.

While traditionally London had been the centre for hiring, the regions are catching up with the capital. In 2018, 50.6% of all cybersecurity vacancies were in London, where in contrast this year 40.8% of vacancies are London-based – a drop of 10%.

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