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Cybersecurity Skills Gap Soars as Brexit Bites

The cybersecurity talent gap is greater than for any other digital skills, according to new research from Capgemini, as Brexit begins to take its toll.

The global consultancy polled over 1200 senior executives and front-line employees and analyzed social media sentiment of more than 8000 cybersecurity employees to compile its latest report, Cybersecurity Talent: The Big Gap in Cyber Protection.

It revealed that 68% of organizations reported high demand for cyber-skills in the workforce, versus 61% demanding innovation skills and 64% analytics skills. However, only 43% had “proficient skills already present in the organization” — a 25% point gap between supply and demand.

By comparison, the gap for analytics was just 13% and innovation was 21%.

“The cybersecurity skills gap has a very real effect on organizations in every sector,” said Mike Turner, COO of Capgemini’s Cybersecurity Global Service Line. “Spending months rather than weeks looking for suitable candidates is not only inefficient, it also leaves organizations dangerously exposed to rising incidents of cybercrime. Business leaders must urgently rethink how they recruit and retain talent, particularly if they wish to maximize the benefits from investment in digital transformation.”

What’s more, demand is set to grow, with 72% of respondents predicting high demand for cybersecurity in 2020.

Brexit is clearly having an impact on the UK’s attractiveness as a place to work for skilled EU workers, exacerbating talent shortages, according to experts speaking at the TEISS summit this week.

The figures come as new stats show a record drop in EU net migration to the UK. The number of EU citizens coming to the UK (220,000) decreased by 47,000 over the past year, falling to 2014 levels, while the number leaving the UK (130,000) is the highest recorded level since 2008.

Sophie Barrett-Brown, head of UK practice at immigration law firm Laura Devine Solicitors, argued that “skilled EU nationals choosing to pursue opportunities outside the UK is not a success story for the UK.

“A further fall in net migration may seem to be good news for those with concerns about immigration, but in reality it underlines a growing skills shortage impacting on businesses and public services. Behind every official statistic showing more workers leaving the UK and fewer arriving, the real story is vacancies unfilled and business potential unrealized,” she added.

“The biggest concern is the ongoing uncertainty employers face as the Brexit deadline of March 2019 approaches. With government now not due to publish proposals for the post-Brexit migration system until the end of 2018, employers are having to plan for any scenario and a number of businesses have already begun transferring some of their business functions overseas.”

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