High in Demand, Short in Supply: The shortfall of IT security skills

The recent increase in demand for IT security skills are being met with a dwindling supply according to recent studies.

Sophistication of the technology and tactics used by criminals has outpaced the ability of IT and security professionals to address these threats. The past 12 months has seen two thirds of larger businesses in the UK become the victims of a cyber-attack or hit by a cyber-breach. According to PwC, the average number of IT security incidents increased by 38% in 2015, resulting in a 56% increase in the theft of hard intellectual property over 2014.

77% of the UK’s CIO’s believe that this is still set to increase according to a recent research report from Robert Half Technology. The majority of the CIO’s included in the study believe that they will inevitably face more security threats in the next 5 years due to a shortage of IT security talent. Cisco’s estimations suggest that there are more than 1 million unfilled security jobs worldwide, meaning that determined attackers and persistent threats are only part of the cyber security skills problem organisations are facing.

Results from the Cybersecurity report indicated that over a third of participants were planning to increase headcount to help combat increased threats against cyber security. However, this is easier said than done due to a saturated market of IT experts. Candidates with cloud security skills are the most in demand but also the most challenging to find according to the research. Other skill sets also identified as harder to come across were IT security technologies and security architecture as more and more companies are seeking to fill IT security roles.

The most in demand IT security skills identified in the Cybersecurity report are; cloud security, IT security technologies, Big data / Data analytics, Applications security and Hacking / penetration testing

These issues mentioned along with the rapidly evolving regulatory requirements and networking technologies, will only further widen the cyber security skills gap.


Photo by Stuart Miles / CC