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Mind the Gap | UK's Cyber Security Skills Gap is the Second Worst in the World

17 August 2017 14:47

Given the enormous increase in cyber attacks over the past few years, it’s hardly surprising that supply isn’t currently meeting demand when it comes to the skills gap in cyber security expertise.

The skills gap in cyber security

What is surprising,  is the extent of the current shortage. This was highlighted in a global study by Indeed, that compared employer demand for cyber security expertise with a number of people actually searching for such roles.

It's results? Britain’s cyber security skills gap is the second worst in the world (beaten only by Israel).

The number of advertised security jobs in the country has risen by 32% in two years, but the number of candidates is lagging behind. In fact, the number of cyber security roles advertised in the UK was the third highest in the world, but employer demand exceeds candidate interest by more than three times. As British employers race to recruit cyber security staff, attacks and breaches are increasing in style and sophistication, causing the gap to widen at an alarming rate.

In an attempt to soften the blow to all of the Brits reading this, it’s probably worth mentioning that all of the major countries involved failed to see jobseekers in cyber security roles match up to the number of vacancies available, so we’re not alone (that’s good news, right?).

The questions that will come from the study will inevitably revolve around how this can be improved.

As a result of working in the cyber security industry myself, I see a huge amount of job postings on sites, such as LinkedIn, that are tailored to me on a daily basis. To be brutally honest, a career in this industry had never previously crossed my mind. For me, anything ‘cyber’ related had a previous stigma for being far too heavily tech related and, frankly, a bit boring. I quickly found that this couldn’t have been further from the truth. As a result, I found myself on the rising path of what many are calling the ‘accidental cybersecurity professional’.

Whatever a person's talent, whether it be with people, administration, management, education, or technology, there is almost certainly an aspect of cybersecurity for which someone’s skills and experience are needed.

Mariano Mamertino, EMEA economist at Indeed, noted that the current skills gap “should serve as a wake-up call to Britain’s tech sector – it must pull together to upskill and attract more people into cyber security roles”.

Some of the cyber professions that are on the rise were also found in the study. The fastest growing sub-sector in the UK was cloud security, which saw job searches rise by 139% in the past two years. However, the most in-demand skills amongst British employers were in network security, which accounted for 223% more job postings than mobile security roles. For both the US and the UK, interest in ethical hacker jobs actually exceeded employer demand.

The issue of the skills gap is fast approaching crisis point, and British businesses will inevitably be put at risk if they can't find the expertise they need to mitigate the threats. The career path into cyber security shouldn't be seen as an accident, it should be seen as an aspiration.

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