How can the cyber security industry sustain growth and attract talent?
The cyber security industry has faced well-documented challenges in recruitment and employment, a problem that has only been exacerbated by continued discussion of the skills gap. But despite these issues, Louise Barker, head of talent at NCC Group, thinks it’s important to celebrate the successes that the industry has achieved in employment and understand what we can do to continue attracting talent to the sector.
The cyber security employment landscape
A report published by the government last year revealed that there are over 30,000 – and as many as 40,000 – staff employed in the UK’s cyber security sector, with over 800 firms providing cyber security products based in the country.
These numbers are encouraging, but even more impressive is the fact that the number of active firms has grown by more than 50% over the last five years, with over a hundred new businesses entering the sector within the last two years. This surge in new entrants to the market can help to make the industry more attractive for prospective employees, particularly as there are no signs that this growth will decelerate in the near future.
These employment figures aren’t just constrained to the capital, either, with the report also revealing that the North West is responsible for 29% of cyber security employment in the UK, with 22% in the South East. This is promising for businesses that are concerned about prospective employees and opportunities being poached by London-based organisations.
Sustaining this growth is going to necessitate careful strategies from businesses within the sector to ensure that talent is being channelled into it and that every possible step to narrowing the skills gap is taken.
What is the government doing to help?
Previously, the cyber security market’s relative infancy may have hindered recruitment of talent into the industry, with no widely accepted definition of a cyber security professional and no gold standard qualification to work towards.
However, the government is addressing this by making up to £2.5m of funds available to establish a new Cyber Security Council in the UK, which is due to start work in April this year. Combined with the ongoing work of the Cyber Security Body of Knowledge (CyBOK), these initiatives will help to establish professional standards further, deliver certifications and provide access to defined career pathways,
Such initiatives should be welcomed, but cyber businesses also have a responsibility to attract and capture talent by informing potential security professionals about the variety of roles available, and the diverse career pathways they can take to achieve success in the industry.
How can cyber security businesses play their part?
The skills gap can’t be forgotten, and Cybersecurity Ventures has predicted that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cyber security job openings by 2021, meaning that the industry needs to tap into new and existing talent pools now.
Many businesses within the industry already understand the importance of graduate schemes and internships in attracting talented young people, and a lot of work is being done to ensure that they understand the value of studying computer sciences and related disciplines.
What isn’t stressed quite so much is the value of the skilled workers from other sectors, who might not think that a career in cyber security is attainable for them and that many can utilise the transferable skillsthey already have to make an impact in the industry.
The perception outside of the sector is that many of the roles are too technical, with many unsure how their skills can be put to use. But by advertising in the correct channels, and showcasing the talent already working within the industry, we can help to change this perception. This will subsequently help to attract technical writers, sales, risk managers, recruiters and more – again helping to change this perception even further.
Additionally, developers, network engineers and Active Directory specialists can all apply their expertise into more technical roles in the industry in an assessing and testing capacity. With a supportive and scalable framework in place, there is no reason that individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds can’t achieve a solid career in cyber security.
This is also true for internal talent, and we have seen success in this area first hand: after developing a deeper interest in developing his technical skills, one of our technical recruiters recently qualified as a Security Consultant.
The recently published UK Government Cyber Security Skills Strategy also acknowledges the importance of attracting individuals from other areas, and has moved from discussing the concept of cyber security skills to the concept of cyber security capabilities to reflect that what is required is “the right blend and level of skills in a truly secure digital economy”.
In practice, this means that cyber security should both be embedded across the workforce and become a facet of a wider range of roles like basic financial or commercial literacy, but also that greater efforts are required to unlock untapped talent in less technical areas of cyber security.
Again, the Government has also pledged to support this path by demystifying cyber security careers, with plans to introduce Cyber Security Skills Ambassadors to promote cyber careers for a wide range of individuals. Other recommendations suggest increasing the provision of non-technical modules in higher and further education cyber security courses and increasing the involvement of the industry in the development of such courses.
Demand for talent – both technical and otherwise – within the cyber security industry is only set to increase in the coming years, and businesses need to lay the foundations to facilitate this growth as soon as possible to ensure that the skills gap doesn’t come to widen any further. By thinking laterally and helping to change perceptions about the industry at large, we can continue to ensure that talented individuals can make the leap to a new career, bolstering employment for a thriving industry in the process.
Industry: Cyber Security News
- Head of CSOC (Cyber Security Operations Centre), London. Greenfield opportunity
CH7928 Identifier Project Head of CSOC (Cyber Security Operations Centre), London. Greenfield UNIQUE opportunity to establish, manage and grow a world class CSOC. Headquartered in the UK, the CSOC will grow and deliver cyber services into an international and underdeveloped market. As a greenfield site the Head of CSOC will be the first person on the ground to build a capability and team around them. The role will include, but not be limited to; Setting up and establishing a CSOC monitoring service using IBM QRadar and Palo Alto CORTEX XSOAR. Develop roadmap for future CSOC capabilities. Establish, develop processes, playbooks and use cases. Recruit, Build and train a specialist team. Build relationships with key clients- onboard and scale. The successful candidate must have experience working within / leading a technical Cyber Security monitoring capability. Technical experience working with IBM QRadar and Palo Alto CORTEX XSOAR will be highly beneficial, although other SIEM / Security Orchestration, Automation and Response tools are welcome as the skillset is transferable. This brings significant opportunity and welcomes creativity / best practice. Frequent travel to London office will be required. Chris.email@example.com 07884666351
- Aruba Data Centre Network Engineer
- Upto £500 a day
**Outside of IR35 contract** Aruba Data Centre Network engineer is required to start ASAP. You will be responsible for Data Center and Campus Network - Design and implementation of Aruba CX Switches, We are looking for an experienced data centre engineer who is happy to work remotely and autonomously Experience you will need to have, Solid Networking experience with good knowledge of -Routing & Switching - MP-BGP EVPN VXLAN, MPLS/VPLS, EIGRP, BGP, OSPF and Multicast, Experience with Aruba switches ideally the CX range Ideally SC cleared or able to become SC Cleared. This will be a 3 month rolling contract
- Network Engineer-
- 65000 plus bonus
An exciting opportunity has arisen with a global financal business that are looking for an experienced Network engineer with strong Firewall experience in particular Checkpoint You will be responsible for help to support and manage the network infrastructure both LAN/ WAN And VPNs and will have a focus on network secuirty (Checkpoint firewall and Security controls) This is a multi-Site environment with few thousand end users, As the business is growing so is the network so great opportunity to join an expanding business that will help cross-train you in both cloud and onsite solutions. They are looking for a strong network engineer with a mix of expereience o Experience with Azure networking managing VNETs, ExpressRoute, VPNs and other Azure network features such as NSG/MS loadbalancer is required. Working with Check Point firewalls in Azure is desirable. o In-Depth understanding of networking fundamentals including: Network topology, Data Centre Infrastructure systems, Layer 2/Layer 3 Switching, VLANs, Routing, VPNs, High availability protocols. o Demonstrable hands-on experience with Meraki Switches and wireless infrastructure, Arista software, Forcepoint Proxy (would be a strongly desirable), Citrix Netscaler, and Forescout CounterACT Location can be flexible, they are looking for someone who would be happy to do a hybrid working model 3 days at home 2 days in the office.
- Technical Cyber Trainer, United Kingdom
Technical Cyber Trainer, United Kingdom Cyber trainer needed to build a new cyber training capability to develop a team of international security analysts. Technical Cyber training experience is a MUST. Any experience delivering technical Blue team based training is highly desired. This is a UK based role. Able to travel to London on occasion- when required. Agile, flexible working. A technical background is highly desirable and prefered. The role Aid in the setup, fine tuning and on-going customisation of Technical Cyber Security’s training platform. CyberBit experience desirable. Design, develop and deliver the internal syllabus to train employees with low cybersecurity knowledge to become analysts. Manage, monitor, support and assess learners. Fine tuning training and bespoke development. Manage, monitor and assess SOC analysts. Support employees through their career. The ability to deliver remote training is essential. This is a UK based role. Able to travel to London on occasion- when required. Agile working. Apply today to find out more information. Chris.Holt@dclsearch.com +447884666351