A recent research into the U.K. cybersecurity labor market by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) found an increase in the basic cybersecurity skills gap in most organizations in the country. The research findings are based on the analysis of labor market databases, interviews with training providers and quantitative surveys with companies in U.K.
According to the research report, around 653,000 organizations (48%) in the U.K. are unable to carry out basic tasks defined in the government’s Cyber Essentials Scheme like setting up firewalls, storing data, and removing malware. The report claimed that 408,000 businesses (30%) lack advanced cybersecurity skills in areas like pen testing, forensics, and security architecture.
The report also found 64% of firms admitted that they suffered problems with cybersecurity skills gaps, with 25% complaining that this had impacted their business. 35% of employers reported that recruitment in the industry is bleak and vacancies in cyber roles are hard to fill because applicants lacked technical knowledge required for the job.
According to DCMS, the areas with the technical skills shortage in U.K. firms include:
- Information risk management
- Compliance or testing
- Cybersecurity research
- Implementing secure systems
- Governance and management
Several industry experts stated that skills shortage will continue to affect several organizations until huge investments are made in technical skills training in the cybersecurity industry.
Growth in the U.K.’s Cybersecurity Industry
According to DCMS, the number of active cybersecurity firms in the country increased by 44%, up from 846 firms in 2017 to over 1,200 in 2019, indicating a growth in the cybersecurity industry. In its earlier report, “The U.K. Cybersecurity Sectoral Analysis 2020,” DCMS stated the security industry in the U.K. has seen a significant surge in security investments, annual revenue, and employment. It also highlighted that around 43,000 full-time employees are currently working in the industry. The annual revenue in the cybersecurity sector rose by 46% to an estimated worth of £8.3 billion (approximately US$10.8 billion). The sector received more than £348 million (approximately US$452.4 million) of investment in 2019.
8 out of 10 U.K. CEOs Fear Cyberattacks
A similar survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) revealed that nearly 79% of CEOs fear skills shortages and cyberattacks as some of the biggest threats to their enterprises. The report, which surveyed 1,600 CEOs in 83 countries, also stressed that 75% of respondents were worried about the speed of technological change as another major challenge. According to the report, most CEOs were concerned about the increasing level of sophistication of cyberattacks. In half the cases, the CEOs themselves deleted their social media apps fearing cyberattacks against them or their company.