Intelligence analyst Cybersecurity Ventures has warned that the cyber-security market is facing an “epidemic” skills shortage.
The California-based research firm has compiled a quarterly Cybersecurity 500 list since 2015, cataloguing what it sees as the hottest and most innovative industry leaders
Feedback from 2017’s top three – Herjavec Group, IBM Security and Raytheon Cyber has revealed growing concern over the widening gap between security threats, and the number of people qualified to tackle them.
The single biggest trend, globally, is that there are chronic work shortages of qualified cyber security staff. It’s an absolute epidemic, the survey found.
From the end of 2013 to 2015, Cisco published research on global cyber security that showed there were one million cyber security positions open globally and Cybersecurity Ventures’ own research suggests that this deficit become worse.
There is a predicted growth in cybercrime coming and by 2021, the company expects there to be 3.5 million vacant cybersecurity job openings.
“The pipeline of security talent isn’t where it needs to be to help curb the rise in more widespread, and more sophisticated, cybercrime.”
There are shortfalls in specialised education in information technology and computer science.
Out of the top ten ranked firms, seven are based out of the US; one in Canada; one in IT security hub Israel; and one UK outfit: Sophos.
Other UK high flyers include BAE Systems (14), BT (29), PwC (32), NNT (54) and KPMG (57). DFLabs in Lombardy, Italy was the highest-ranked continental European firm, at number 19.
The number of non-EU IT professionals coming to the UK to fill skills shortages has increased by more than half.
More than 36,015 non-EU IT professionals entered the UK last year, up from 23,960 in 2012.
SJD Accountancy, which obtained the data from the Home Office, warned that the UK is becoming increasingly reliant on overseas talent to bridge the skills gap, even as the country prepares to leave the EU.
This is the fifth straight year the number of work permits issued to non-EU IT professionals has risen, and represents the highest level since 2008, when 35,430 were handed out, SJD found.
The most in-demand roles include IT business analysts, architects and systems designers, web design and development specialists, according to the findings.
SJD warned that the UK will become more reliant on non-EU IT professionals unless it can boost the number of computer science and ICT apprenticeships.
Undergraduate and postgraduate computer science degree levels have fallen 14 percent to 21,250 since 2011/12 and ICT apprenticeships – although on the rise now – have also slipped 13.5 percent to 16,020 since 2011/12, the firm said.
SJD Accountancy CEO Derek Kelly said: “Despite attempts to rectify the UK’s historic underproduction of IT skills, we are more reliant on foreign talent than we were before the recession. These numbers show that the expansion of the UK tech sector is at risk if we are unable to keep up with demand for IT skills. Skill shortages can delay projects and push up costs for businesses.”