From education to employment

Only 10% of tech talent has cyber skills to fill skills gap

According to a recent study by recruitment firm Robert Walters and data firm Vacancysoft (@vacancysoft), only 10% of IT professionals have the cyber security skills the UK’s tech sector currently needs to fill the skills gap. 

The report found that despite a 50% year-on-year (YoY) increase in job adverts looking for cyber workers with security information and event management (SIEM) skills, and a 30% increase in searches for cyber talent with ethical hacking skills, only 1% of the cyber talent pool has these skills.
Key findings from the report include:

  • In Europe, 70% of companies have stated they do not have appropriate cyber security talent, with a shortage of around 140,000 skilled workers in the region
  • 58% of hiring managers put information security as their most required skill, but only a small number of tech workers have the skills these firms are looking for.
  • UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are suffering 65,000 attempted cyber attacks every day and, if successful – which around 4,500 are – can cost up to £2.48m per instance.

Agata Nowakowska 100x100Agata Nowakowska, AVP EMEA at Skillsoft:

“This research is not only a clear indicator that organisations are struggling to find talent – but that the available workforce is not equipped to meet the demand. Employers will have to address the growing digital skills gap within the workforce to ensure their business is able to fully leverage every digital transformation investment that’s made. With technologies like AI and cloud becoming as commonplace as word processing or email in the workplace, firms will need to ensure employees can use such tools and aren’t apprehensive about using them. This will mean instituting lifelong learning for employees – from day 1 – constantly reskilling and upskilling workers to ensure everyone has the opportunity to learn new skills. Organisations will need to think holistically about managing reskilling, upskilling and job transitioning. In addition to opening up technical training and development to a wider candidate base – including supporting more female employees to develop the skills required to fill identified gaps – assessing the digital transformation requirements of the enterprise should help to direct investment priorities for training and development.   As the war for talent intensifies due to the post-pandemic circumstances, employee development and talent pooling will become increasingly vital to building a modern workforce that’s adaptable and flexible. Addressing and easing workplace role transitions will require new training models and approaches that include on-the-job training and opportunities that support and signpost workers to opportunities to upgrade their skills. Similarly, investing in digital talent platforms that foster fluidity, by matching workers and their skills with new work opportunities within the enterprise will be key.”

Sam Humphries, security strategist at Exabeam:

“There are so many benefits to having a diverse organisation, but one of the more obvious reasons to cast recruitment net far wider is the technical skills gap – women represent a small percentage of a workforce desperate for more skilled workers.  It’s a broad issue affecting many industries, but one that is particularly pronounced in cybersecurity. 
According to a recent (ISC)2 survey, women working in cybersecurity currently account for only about one quarter (24%) of the industry. Yet in the recent State of the SOC Report 2020, nearly 40% of the organisations surveyed feel their security operations center (SOC) is understaffed.  This is the disparity that – to me – makes looking for skills in an all-but untapped female talent pool an obvious solution.
What’s more, more companies need to embrace returners to work, offering opportunities to individuals who have taken a career break and are keen to get back to their profession or are able to cross-train. Particularly for women who have taken a break to have a family or look after children. The skills these women have do not disappear when they have a career break, if anything they will acquire new skills from motherhood that will be valuable to the work-world. These can be cross-purposed into a role. Particularly with a skills shortage, we can’t be turning away good candidates. 
My hope is that by supporting programs that expose and encourage women and girls to the possibilities of an education and career in tech, we can help address the skills shortage by introducing new perspectives and problem-solving skills to the industry.”  

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