Two man and a woman standing in a group, one of the men on the left is holding a report about cybersecurity in Ireland.
Minister of State with responsibility for Public Procurement, eGovernment and Circular Economy Ossian Smyth, TD; cluster manager at Cyber Ireland, Dr Eoin Byrne; and Prof Donna O’Shea, chair of cybersecurity in MTU. Image: Julien Behal Photography

Ireland could grow its cybersecurity workforce to 17,000 by 2030

16 May 2022

A new report outlines the opportunity for Ireland to grow and develop its cybersecurity sector – but this is ‘dependent on a supply of suitably qualified individuals’.

A new report has found that Ireland could grow its cybersecurity workforce to more than 17,000 by 2030.

The report, conducted by Cyber Ireland and Cyber Skills, found that there are currently 489 cybersecurity companies in Ireland employing 7,300 cybersecurity professionals across 734 offices.

This is the first study by these groups to map the cybersecurity industry in Ireland. Its findings will be used by Cyber Ireland, the national cybersecurity cluster organisation, to inform its future policy decisions in the sector.

Of the companies operating in Ireland currently, 83pc surveyed for the report said they expect their cybersecurity team to grow over the next 12 months, and more than half (51pc) expect that this growth will occur at a rate of 25pc or higher.

“Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing industry, and we have the potential in Ireland to grow this industry to 17,000 jobs and €2.5bn in annual GVA [gross value added] by 2030, with the right business supports and measures,” said Dr Eoin Byrne, cluster manager at Cyber Ireland.

Byrne added that the Irish infosec industry currently contributes €1.1bn in GVA per annum. In the most recent financial year, it is estimated that cybersecurity-related revenue in Ireland reached approximately €2.1bn.

However, as Byrne pointed out, growth in this sector may be contingent on getting the appropriate supports.

In the report, 61pc of companies surveyed noted personnel-related issues, such as a lack of candidates in the labour market with the appropriate skill level (41pc), competition from other cybersecurity businesses (33pc), lack of non-technical skills (22pc), or unaffordable salaries (21pc).

More than a quarter (26pc) of respondents have also faced issues with raising or securing finance.

Quick access to investors, as well as the availability of skills courses for cybersecurity professionals, were identified as crucial to the success of the sector in the future.

Prof Donna O’Shea, chair of cybersecurity at Munster Technological University, said that the opportunity for Ireland to grow and develop the cybersecurity sector is “dependent on a supply of suitably qualified individuals.”

O’Shea also leads Cyber Skills, an infosec education initiative funded by Ireland’s Higher Education Authority. It was set up last year to address skills shortages in the cybersecurity sector and works with industry and academic partners.

Welcoming the report, Minister of State for Public Procurement, eGovernment and Circular Economy Ossian Smyth, TD, referred to the “several significant cybersecurity incidents in the past number of years”, including the ransomware incident affecting the HSE in May of last year.

A report released today (16 May) by global specialist insurer the Hiscox Group found that the frequency of cyberattacks in Ireland has increased by 26pc year on year. The company’s cyber readiness report surveyed around 200 businesses in Ireland, 49pc of which said they suffered a cyberattack in the past 12 months, compared to 39pc in the previous year.

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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