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January 17, 2017updated 27 May 2022 8:15am

UK cyber security skills shortage second worst in the world – and growing

A global study has revealed the UK's dire skills shortage, with businesses “put at risk” as employer demand for expertise is treble supply.

By Ellie Burns

A global study has revealed the dire skills shortage in the UK, with Britain’s cyber security skills gap emerging as the second worst in the world.

According to the study by jobsite Indeed, the number of cyber security roles advertised in the UK was the third highest in the world. However, employer demand exceeded candidate interest by more than three times.

Although this supply and demand issue was seen across all the major countries studied, it was found to be especially severe in the UK. The number of cyber security job searches in Britain reached just 31.6% of the number of jobs posted, giving the UK a skills gap second only to that of Israel.

The study also revealed that vacancies to UK cybersecurity jobs have risen by nearly a third (31.9%) between 2014 and 2016, thanks in part to the increased activities and visibility of hackers and high-profile attacks. However, the people to fill those vacancies are just not there.

This has fuelled the growing skills gap in Britain, with the cyber security skills gap having grown by 5% in two years, a tally exceeded only by Brazil and Canada. In contrast, Ireland has reduced its skills gap by 14%.

Looking at the in-demand positions, job seekers in the UK were most interested in cloud security roles – a subsector which has seen job searches rise by 139%. Employers, on the other hand, wanted those skilled in network security, with the subsector accounting for 223% more job postings than mobile security roles.

Mariano Mamertino, EMEA economist at Indeed, said: “2016 saw a spate of big corporations – and even the US electoral process – suffer high-profile data breaches.

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“But beyond the headlines, cybercrime is a threat to organisations of all sizes. As cyberattacks increase in scale and sophistication, British employers are racing to recruit staff with the skills and experience needed to protect their vital data.

“Sadly the supply of skilled workers isn’t keeping up with employer demand, and Britain’s cyber security skills gap – already the second worst in the world – is getting worse.

“The problem 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 threat. This 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.”

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