Recruiters see demand for cyber security skills surge

With the National Cyber Security Centre reporting at least one significant cyber-attack a day on UK organisations, an REC survey reports cyber skills demand is outstripping supply.

Screengrab of hacked screen with padlock
Demand for cyber security staff will increase over the next year, according to recruitment agencies surveyed by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).The majority (81 per cent) think demand will increase “significantly”. However, the same number of recruitment businesses studied say the UK workforce is unlikely to meet demand in cyber security over the next 12 months. Only 16% of the 31 companies surveyed think skills demands are likely to be in balance.

The cyber threat facing the UK

The findings come not long after the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) reported on its first year of operations, where it logged 590 significant events, 1,131 incident reports and close to one attack a week that required a cross-government department response. Commenting in October, Ciaran Martin, CEO of the NCSC, said: “Cyber security is crucial to our national security and to our prosperity. But the threat remains very real and growing – further attacks will happen and there is much more for us to do to make the UK the safest place in the world to live and do business online."The NCSC's official launch in February came with a call for employers to "sharpen up" their security measures as a survey showed many were underprepared for the challenges.
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Cyber skill candidate scarcity 'will push up pay'

Today's REC figures suggest employers are heeding the advice, but likely to face a shortage of candidates to fill the increasing number of roles in cyber security. This will push up pay, the REC finds: 94% of recruiters believe remuneration for cyber security staff will increase over the next year. Just 6% think it will stay the same. Cyber security roles have also been reported as hard to fill due to candidate shortages for eight out of the past nine months according to the REC’s monthly Report on Jobs survey of recruiters.  REC Chief Executive, Kevin Green, comments: “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. The good news for people working in cyber security is they could well see a pay increase next year as a result."

Building tech talent in the UK

In November, as David Sapsted reports in the winter 2017/18 issue of Relocate Global magazine, Prime Minister Theresa May announced a new scheme to woo skilled technical experts to the UK with an expansion of the Tier 1 visa scheme.The REC is also calling for joined up action between employers and government to tap into the talent needed to safeguard the UK's cyber security.“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." “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.”For related news and features, visit our HR section. Look out for the launch of 2018's Relocate Awards, entries open in January. Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory