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Cyber security skills shortage to hit 1.8 million by 2022

Europe is facing a growing problem with a huge shortage of skilled cyber security workers.

By James Nunns

It is well documented that there is a worrying industry wide shortage of skills when it comes to technology. The impact of this hinders innovation, the adoption of new technologies, the ability to manage the technology, and perhaps most importantly the ability to protect from cyber attack.

With cyber attacks and breaches frequently in the news it is no surprise that European businesses are looking to go on a hiring spree for cyber security talent.

According to the 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education, around 40% of European firms want to grow their teams by at least 15% in the next year.

However, this year’s study reveals that a cyber security skills workforce gap of 1.8 million by 2022 is what Europe is facing. This is a 20% increase over the forecast made in 2015, suggesting that efforts being made to reduce this problem are inadequate.

The report was commissioned by the Information Security Certification body (ISC) and based on a survey of 19,000 cyber security professionals around the world, with nearly 3,700 from Europe.

The European respondents were found to be the most ambitious when it came to their hiring targets, perhaps due to two-thirds saying that they don’t have enough cyber security professionals.

That is understandable given that Europe is projected to be facing a shortage of skilled workers by around 350,000 by 2022.

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The report calls on employers on employers to do more such as embracing new talent and a changing workforce, but unfortunately 92% of hiring managers said prioritise previous cyber security experience when candidates for jobs are chosen.

In addition to mostly relying upon their own professional networks, hiring managers also said that they rely on social and professional networks (48%) and then their HR department (47%) for recruitment.

Read more: The rise of online learning – the cure to the UK’s digital skills gap?

The report said: “In addition to looking for non-traditional hires, hiring managers must be aware that their expectations for new hires do not correspond with workers’ priorities for a successful career. The top skills that are prioritized by hiring managers are communication skills and analytical skills, while workers prioritize a slew of technical skills above communication and analytical skills.

“This suggests not only a disconnect between hiring managers and worker expectations, but a breakdown in communication of the desired traits and skills that managers are looking for in new hires.”

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