UK Cyber Skills Shortage Rises by Over a Third

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The UK’s cyber skills shortage has surged by more than a third in the past 12 months, according to a new report by global recruitment firm Harvey Nash.

The study, which analyzed the current state of the digital jobs shortage, found that cybersecurity is the most sought-after tech skill in the UK. Nearly half (43%) of the 823 UK digital leaders surveyed admitted they had a shortage in this area.

The report was published six months after a government study found the UK’s cybersecurity recruitment pool has a shortfall of 10,000 people a year.

Cybersecurity was followed by big data/analysts (36%), technical architects (33%) and developers (32%) as the most sought-after tech skills for UK businesses.

As well as recruitment, staff retention has been a major challenge for UK organizations in the past year. Four in 10 UK digital leaders admitted they can’t keep key staff in these roles for as long as they would like, as they’re being lured away by the offer of more money. Despite this, just 38% of organizations have redesigned their employee offer to make it attractive to staff in the new hybrid working world.

The figures are especially worrisome given companies are planning to grow technology investment (61%) and headcount (66%) to record levels. Around two-thirds (66%) of respondents admitted they are now unable to keep pace with the rate of change because of the lack of tech skills in their organization.

In response to the talent shortfall, over half (54%) of digital leaders said they are planning to cross-train people from other parts of their organization, and 52% will be offering more apprenticeships over the year ahead.

The report also highlighted the continued lack of women in high-level tech roles, with just 12% of the digital leaders surveyed identifying as female.

Bev White, CEO of Harvey Nash Group, commented: “With businesses planning record levels of digital investment, we could be standing on the verge of a ‘second renaissance’ for technology. Organizations are looking to push their digital transformations further and faster than ever before, putting technology at the very heart of how they operate. This will take them beyond being merely ‘tech-centric’: technology will literally be dispersed throughout the business, everywhere.

“But these ambitions are coming under threat from the acute skills shortages that are now worse than ever before. In fact, businesses face a triple whammy. They lack the supply of skilled resource they need; they have not yet evolved a new and effective employee proposition for the hybrid working world; and the skills they need are themselves changing as technology develops at pace. Digital leaders need to rapidly assess their needs and find solutions if their plans are not to be derailed by this potent cocktail of challenges.”

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