HR · 19 December 2017

Hacking threat set to create surge in demand for cyber security workers in 2018

Cyber sec
Security breaches in the public sector have raised awareness among employers of the threat of cyber crime

A series of high profile cyber attacks in 2017 will significantly increase demand for cyber security workers next year, new survey findings have suggested.

However, availability of such IT professionals is unlikely to meet demand among recruiters and business owners.

The research, carried out by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), a labour market trade body, revealed that 81 per cent of recruitment agencies expected demand for cyber security workers to rise “significantly” in 2018.

While all surveyed agencies believed demand would increase to some degree, just 16 per cent believed Britain’s labour market would be able to provide enough workers to fill vacancies.

The ransomware attack on the NHS in May and subsequent breach of parliamentary IT networks confirmed the threat hackers currently pose organisations, while online fraud was recently found to be the most prevalent type of crime in England in Wales.

The REC’s findings showed that business owners are responding by investing in the necessary expertise to protect their firm.

Recent research from Barclaycard showed that small business owners had already increased investment into cyber security expertise by 43 per cent since 2012, and expected to add a third onto the budget in 2018.

Commenting on the growing awareness of employers to recruit internal cyber security experts, Kevin Green, REC chief executive, said business owners could find themselves in a highly competitive market.

“With several high profile cyber-attacks this year, it’s no surprise that demand for cyber security staff is set to increase. However, there are very few people with the skills needed, so employers will be competing with each other for the limited talent,” Green said.

Green suggested that cyber security professionals could see salaries rise as a result of high demand.

“Employers need to think realistically about how to fill roles if they are to protect themselves from debilitating cyber-attacks. This means they should make the most of transferrable skills and create training opportunities which would benefit employees and new applicants.”

Green added that, given the sudden shift among employers of the importance of strong cyber security, it was time for policy makers to address the threat of hacking and online crime.

“The responsibility also lies with government. We think the Apprenticeship Levy should become a broader training levy so that employers can use this funding to develop the skills that they are desperate for. Long term, we need to see better careers guidance in schools about cyber security roles. And right now, we need to maintain access to the best people from around the world to create a secure environment where British businesses can flourish.”

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Cyber crime

Five cyber security measures to protect your business from an NHS-style attack

With cyber security now firmly in the spotlight, all business owners, need to think about their cyber risk and put in place appropriate security measures to protect their company.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Simon Caldwell is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and communications from the University of Liverpool, and has previously worked as a content editor in local government and the ecommerce industry.

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