Cybersecurity talent gap
Image: Evlakhov Valeriy/Shutterstock

Does cybersecurity have the most dangerous talent gap?

12 Jan 2017

Virtually all technology sectors have a supply and demand problem, but with cybercrime on the rise, the shortage in the infosec industry could pose the most immediate danger.

From free ICT courses to accessible online classes, there are plenty of routes the workforce can take to help bridge the skills gap in the technology sector.

Of course, a talent gap in any industry is a problem, but when it comes to IT, there are certain sectors that can cause particular issues for society.

Cybercrime is becoming a bigger problem almost every day, with phishing scams, data breaches and vulnerable devices leaving people open to scams and hackers.

A global study of the infosec workforce in 2015 predicted that the cybersecurity talent shortage would reach 1.5m within five years, as demand outstrips supply.

This is where the tech talent gap becomes a serious problem.

Immediate danger

Industries within the tech sector are desperate for the right talent, and they have taken steps to headhunt their dream candidates by searching in unusual places.

However, the needs within cybersecurity will have serious ramifications if they’re not met.

Last year, PwC revealed that there has been a 656pc increase in cybersecurity incidents involving industrial control systems since 2010.

The cybersecurity problem is not just a lack of general talent. In other industries, growth and demand happened gradually. The shortage arrived and it became clear that, while we might not be able to plug the hole fast enough to meet the increasing demand, we could see where it would be coming from down the line.

Cybersecurity in the broader spectrum appears to have been viewed as something slightly nebulous. It can be costly and in the early days, companies and individuals lacking in a full understanding of the dangers might have wondered how much security was really going to be necessary.

But, with a shockwave of data breaches, corporate hacks and phishing scams over the past few years – some of which making global news – we’re suddenly at dangerous levels of needing cybersecurity professionals, with not nearly enough to cover those needs.

Jacky Fox, cybersecurity and IT forensics lead at Deloitte, has previously talked about the dangers to companies. “The amount of attacks that are happening to organisations at the moment are increasing hugely. Denial of service is becoming much more threatening and dangerous for organisations,” she warned.

Hope on the horizon

The central debate of cybersecurity from last year’s US election sparked an increased interest in pursuing a career in the area, an interest which is sure to increase further with the continued discussion around the Russian hacking story.

With the interest there, particularly in younger adults who have grown up in the internet age, a natural aptitude and awareness will become a major asset to those pursuing a career in IT.

What’s more, with the huge demand in infosec, it will become one of the more lucrative career tracks for candidates with the right skills, enticing even more IT professionals into the industry.

With companies finally waking up to the dangers they face, measures can now also be taken to retrain or upskill their current IT staff in security matters.

A surge of interest from young adults entering the workforce, and a series of dangerous hacks and data breaches calling companies to action, might be just the right recipe to make headway when it comes to plugging the skills gap in cybersecurity.

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Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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