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January 30, 2020

UK’s Cybersecurity Sector Now Worth £8.3 Billion, But Is A Skills Gap Looming?

"On average, revenue per employee reached £193,500"

By CBR Staff Writer

The UK’s cybersecurity sector is now estimated to be worth more than £8.3 billion, a significant rise of 46 percent from £5.7 billion in 2017, but a skills gap could be a major disrupter in the coming years.

The valuation of the industry comes from a report published today by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) which shows that the number of active cybersecurity firms operating in the UK has increased by 44 percent since 2017, rising from 846 to more than 1,200 firms by the end of 2019.

Since 2016 the report estimates that the total investment into the industry has exceeded £1.1 billion, in 2019 alone the sector received £348 million in investment. Revenues on average for cybersecurity companies has grown by 46 percent since 2017.

Clare Gardiner NCSC director of national resilience and strategy commented in a release that: “Our ambition is to make the UK the safest place to live and work online and it’s fantastic to see our cyber security industry flourishing. The NCSC will continue to support, encourage and facilitate cyber security research and innovation, and help attract the most diverse minds.”

UK’s Cybersecurity Sector Skill Gap Woes

According to the report the cybersecurity industry now employs roughly 43,000 full-time employees, while growth within the industry appears to be accelerating it may not be enough to bridge the skills gap or enterprise employee requirements in the coming years.

Last November it was reported that Europe’s cybersecurity skills gap doubled in 2018, with 291,000 more security professionals needed to meet business demand in 2019. On a global scale the non-profit cybersecurity professional association (ISC) predicts that the world’s cybersecurity workforce needs to increase by 145 percent.

The report out today from DCMS notes that: “Against the backdrop of high demand for cybersecurity talent, the sector may experience opportunity costs (e.g. inability to service contracts or grow beyond a certain scale) if the skills gap is not tackled in the coming years.”

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Earlier this month the Local Government Association (LGA) warned that because of a “confusing, fragmented, untargeted and ineffective” skills training schemes England could face a major deficit of highly skilled workers in the next ten years. It has recommended that the government devolve all apprenticeship, back-to-work, careers advice and business support schemes back to local authorities so they can be managed at source.

See Also: Fix England’s “Fragmented, Centralised” Skills System Urgently or Face a 2.5 Million Worker Deficit: LGA

Commenting on the DCMS cyber security report Digital Minister Matt Warman said that: “It’s great to see our cyber security sector going from strength to strength. It plays a vital role in protecting the country’s thriving digital economy and keeping people safe online. We are committed to seeing it grow and are investing £1.9 billion over five years through our National Cyber Security Strategy to make sure we lead the way in cyber innovation, develop and attract the best talent.”

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