Person's hand reaching out towards a white lock icon that is on a light purple background to symbolise a privacy concept.
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Major technical privacy skills gap in Europe, says report

17 Jan 2023

Just 38pc of business leaders said they were confident in their organisation’s ability to secure its data.

There is a major technical privacy skills gap in Europe and businesses are struggling to find skilled staff to fill privacy-related positions.

The vast majority (94pc) of businesses in Europe acknowledge that there is a privacy skills gap, according to a new report by ISACA.

ISACA is a globally focused organisation that provides resources and training to people and companies who want to stay secure on the internet.

Its Privacy in Practice report looked at privacy in enterprises. The research was carried out in Q4 of 2022, among 1,890 global privacy professionals – with 375 in Europe.

Based on their findings, ISACA is encouraging businesses to re-evaluate their approach to privacy, paying particular attention to the skills gap that exists.

Although 87pc of companies in Europe claimed to offer privacy awareness training to their employees, the skills gap among staff is a cause for concern. ISACA recommends that companies focus on training and upskilling to resolve this problem.

Just 38pc of business leaders said they were confident in their organisation’s ability to secure its data. The most reported privacy failures among leaders was poor training for staff, data breaches and not practising privacy by design.

Understaffing is also a significant problem in Europe, which is contributing to the privacy skills gap. More than half (59pc) of technical privacy teams in the region are understaffed. One fifth of the businesses surveyed said it takes more than six months to fill a technical privacy position and 41pc said their privacy budgets are underfunded.

“Privacy professionals play a key role in establishing digital trust. As technology advances, introducing new complexities and threats and as the cyberthreat landscape increases in size and sophistication, demand for these individuals is only going to grow,” warned Chris Dimitriadis, global chief strategy officer, ISACA.

“Heightened privacy skills demand is good news for candidates with privacy technology knowledge but also bad news for businesses that are struggling to close the privacy skills gap.”

Tony Hughes, ISACA emerging trends working group member, said that “Only searching for candidates with specific experience and technical privacy skills is an outdated mindset – it immediately limits businesses to a small pool of people.”

“Instead, organisations need to lean on reskilling people in non-privacy roles, using contract employees and focusing on individuals with the right soft skills to reduce the privacy skills gap.”

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea joined Silicon Republic in 2021 as Careers reporter, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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