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REC: Security Skills Shortages to Increase in 2017

Four-fifths of specialist recruitment agencies are predicting a “significant” increase in demand for IT security professionals next year, according to a new report.

The stats come from industry body the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), and point to a continuing increase in chronic skills shortages in 2018.

That will most likely drive wages up further — 94% of recruiters REC spoke to said the market would see an increase.

“Recruiters tell us that employers are making life more difficult for themselves by creating job roles demanding unreasonable amounts of experience, qualifications and skills — so they’re looking for someone that doesn’t even exist,” said REC CEO, Kevin Green.

"Instead, they should think about how to make the most of transferable skills and create training opportunities which would benefit employees and new applicants."

However, High-Tech Bridge CEO, Ilia Kolochenko, claimed that skills shortages are being exaggerated by the recruiters themselves.

“Today, we don’t really have a shortage of qualified people, but rather wrong application of their skills. When senior security analysts are taking care of IT support, even a 10-time personnel increase won’t improve the situation,” he argued.

“The core problems are incomplete risk assessment, opaque cybersecurity strategy, incoherent policies and ineffective internal processes within organizations. Moreover, intelligent automation and machine learning prove to be an effective problem-solver, significantly reducing human costs.”

The REC’s Green also called on the government to ensure Britain doesn’t suffer further from Brexit.

“The responsibility also lies with government. We think the Apprenticeship Levy should become a broader training levy so that employers can use this funding to develop the skills that they are desperate for, he continued.

“Long term, we need to see better careers guidance in schools about cybersecurity roles. And right now, we need to maintain access to the best people from around the world to create a secure environment where British businesses can flourish.”

However, experts have already told Infosecurity as far back as last July that the referendum result is having a negative impact on the industry in the UK. 

Sarah Armstrong-Smith, head of continuity & resilience at Fujitsu UK & Ireland, said many firms are reluctant to upskill staff as they don’t consider themselves a high-profile target.

“Because cybersecurity is more than just a technology issue, businesses must look at how they improve the skills of those workers they already have and tap into the skills beyond their organization,” she added.

“This means investing in people and training, to ensure they are skilled up as the security threat landscape changes. It also means working with companies who can bring the required skills and services into their organization to keep them protected.”

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