The demand for cyber security professionals in the UK is growing at a pace comparable to that of the rise in cyber threats. Since 2016, an average increase of 14% demand for these professionals implies that the UK cyber security workforce would need to grow by approximately 12,000 people per annum to meet the expected demand.
To make matters more challenging, the sector is losing approximately 4% of staff each year to retirement or career changes, which consists of 4,000-7,000 people per year (average 5,500).
This now means that the UK cyber security workforce needs to attract at least 17,500 professionals each year to meet both new demand and replace lost workers. However, it is estimated that only 7,500 new individuals are entering this sector, made up of 4,000 University graduates, 2,500 from career transitions, and up to 1,000 involved in apprenticeships. Effectively, demand is outweighing supply very clearly in this sector, and it looks like the delta is only going to increase over time.
The shortage of cyber security skills and talent is an increasing challenge for HR & Talent Acquisitions teams across the UK that needs to be addressed quickly to mitigate further risks, which include losing talent, lack of experience, staff retention and employee burnout.
Undeniably, employers are struggling to fill roles, especially specialist roles where a minimum of 3-5 years experience is mandatory. Diversity remains in significant need of improvement too. Women are under-represented at all levels in the pool with ethic minority candidates less successful in securing roles in leadership positions, which is not the case compared to the USA.
Source: Ipsos MORI | DCMS Understanding the Cyber Recruitment Pool