Britain’s Cybersecurity Skills Gap

Globally, there were an estimated 3 million unfilled cybersecurity vacancies at the end of 2018 and it has been predicted that there could be as many as 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity roles in the UK alone by 2022. In Britain, the UK government has created the Initial National Cyber Security Skills Strategy with the intention of resolving the skills shortage, but it is going to need a concerted effort from everyone involved to reduce the skills gap. 

This skills gap in the UK is the result of a number of factors, such as the outpacing of new technologies creating a shortage in specialist skills, a disconnect between education and the industry and gender inequality. Each one of these issues will need to be addressed by the industry and educators if this ever-increasing skills gap is to be closed. 

Specialist Skills
Many recruiters and employers claim that positions stay vacant because many candidates lack the required level of experience and the specialist skills needed to perform the role. However, with more and more positions opening up and remaining vacant, the industry will need to address this skills shortage and the reasons behind it. 

As an industry, cybersecurity is both aided and hindered by the rapid pace that technology evolves. As new technology is developed and introduced into the world those working in cybersecurity are tasked with adapting to this new technology.
With new technologies emerging every day, the UK’s skills gap is unlikely to lessen without major efforts from both employers and educators. The need for specialist skills in the industry that relate to new technologies such as cloud computing is readily apparent. These new technologies come with security vulnerabilities that require specialized training and knowledge to address. 

However, many graduates lack the understanding or experience of these new technologies due to how new they are. This would suggest that there is a disconnect between the industry and education and that the objectives of the industry aren’t being fully met by education institutions. 

The Disconnect Between Education And Industry
At the time of writing, there are only 4 specific cybersecurity bachelor’s degrees taught in the UK that have been approved by the National Cyber Security Centre. In addition, cybersecurity is rarely chosen as a specialism by students until Master’s level, resulting in very few graduates leaving university with a strong understanding of cybersecurity. 

The most in-demand specialist skill currently in demand in the UK is penetration testing. However, despite being a vital and sought after skill in graduates, there is only one course that is listed on the UCAS website that makes any reference to penetration testing. To begin to close the skills gap, there needs to be improved communication and cooperation between education and the industry. 

Cybersecurity businesses will need to identify their own weaknesses and work together with education providers to enhance student’s understanding and interest in the most in-demand areas of cybersecurity to help to tackle the skills shortage. 

Professional Certifications
However, not all of the responsibility for the skills shortage lies with education providers. Employers that are struggling to fill roles requiring more advanced skills need to develop and train their own staff to progress their teams. With so many businesses struggling to fill specialist roles, internal training and up-skilling could be essential in tackling the skills shortage. 
There is a range of professional certificates that are able to provide cybersecurity professionals with a more comprehensive understanding of specialist areas. For example, the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) qualification familiarises staff with penetration testing methods. 

Gender Inequality And Diversity
Another commonly suggested way to tackle the skills gap is to open the cybersecurity industry up to women and other diverse applicants. Only 16% of cybersecurity students that graduated in 2017 were women and women professional in cybersecurity are paid on average 25% less than their male counterparts. If the cybersecurity industry wants to resolve this skills gap it will need to entice as many candidates as possible and make efforts to diversify their talent pool. 

Other STEM industries that have made efforts to tackle gender inequality, such as engineering, are already beginning to see improvements in their own skills gaps. In any industry, diversity is essential and helps to create a team from a range of backgrounds and experiences that can work together to problem-solve from a range of angles. 

With the UK facing such a dramatic shortage of skilled cybersecurity staff in a vital industry it is imperative that we work to expand the perception of what a cybersecurity professional looks and thinks like to make the role as open and attractive to as many people as possible. 

About the Author:
Dan Baker is a Content Writer that works with SecureTeam, a cybersecurity consultant that provides a range of cybersecurity solutions to small and medium businesses across the UK. 

You Might Also Read:

Employee Training Is Vital For Commercial Cybersecurity:

Closing The Skills Gap Starts At School:

 

« Google Challenged For Collecting American Health Data
Killer Robots For Export »

Perimeter 81

Directory of Suppliers

MIRACL

MIRACL

MIRACL provides the world’s only single step Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) which can replace passwords on 100% of mobiles, desktops or even Smart TVs.

IT Governance

IT Governance

IT Governance is a leading global provider of information security solutions. Download our free guide and find out how ISO 27001 can help protect your organisation's information.

DigitalStakeout

DigitalStakeout

A simple and cost-effective solution to monitor, investigate and analyze data from the web, social media and cyber sources to identify threats and make better security decisions.

CSI Consulting Services

CSI Consulting Services

Get Advice From The Experts: * Training * Penetration Testing * Data Governance * GDPR Compliance. Connecting you to the best in the business.

Clayden Law

Clayden Law

Clayden Law are experts in information technology, data privacy and cybersecurity law.

Perimeter 81

Perimeter 81

Perimeter 81 is a Zero Trust Network as a Service designed to simplify secure network, cloud and application access for the modern and distributed workforce.

BackupVault

BackupVault

BackupVault is a leading provider of completely automatic, fully encrypted online, cloud backup.

Cyber Security Supplier Directory

Cyber Security Supplier Directory

Free Access: Cyber Security Supplier Directory listing 5,000+ specialist service providers.

Syxsense

Syxsense

Syxsense brings together endpoint management and security for greater efficiency and collaboration between IT management and security teams.

WEBINAR: How To Build A Security Observability Strategy In AWS

WEBINAR: How To Build A Security Observability Strategy In AWS

Thursday, Apr 22, 2021 - Join this webinar to learn how to build a security observability strategy in AWS, covering cloud-native monitoring sources, guardrails, and automation capabilities.

CLCERT

CLCERT

CLCERT is dedicated to the monitoring and analysis of the security problems of computer systems in Chile, and the generation of both knowledge and specialized human resources to ensure these systems.

Cyber Data-Risk Managers

Cyber Data-Risk Managers

Cyber Data-Risk Managers Pty Ltd is an insurance broker based in Melbourne, Australia specializing in Cyber insurance / Data breach insurance.

Nullcon

Nullcon

Nullcon provides an integrated platform for exchanging information on the latest attack vectors, zero-day vulnerabilities and unknown threats.

Provise Consulting

Provise Consulting

ProVise is an independent, product agnostic, research-driven advisory firm specializing in GRC and Cyber Security professional services.

National Cybersecurity Society (NCSS)

National Cybersecurity Society (NCSS)

The National Cybersecurity Society is a non-profit organization focused on providing cybersecurity education, awareness and advocacy to small businesses.

Westpoint Recruitment

Westpoint Recruitment

Westpoint Recruitment is a leading provider of IT and Cyber Security Recruitment Solutions.

Burning Glass Technologies

Burning Glass Technologies

Burning Glass Technologies is an analytics software company that provides real-time data on job growth, skills in demand, and labor market trends.

CloudBolt Software

CloudBolt Software

CloudBolt provide solutions for your toughest cloud challenges. From automation, to cost and security, and hybrid IT governance — we have you covered.