The digital and data skills crisis might be getting all the headlines but according to a new study it is the cyber security industry which is really feeling the pinch, amid claims that there will be 350,000 unfilled vacancies in European firms by 2022.
According to the 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study, commissioned by certification body (ISC)2, two-thirds of European firms say they already have too few cyber security professionals.
It has already been reported that salaries for chief information security officers at top European firms have reached €1m (£850,000) a year, but it seems to be the recruitment process that is proving a major hindrance.
The study revealed that 92% of managers admit they prioritise previous cyber security experience when choosing candidates, and that most recruitment comes from their own professional networks.
Managers also admitted that they are relying on their social and professional networks (48%), followed closely by their organisation’s HR department (47%), as their primary source of recruitment.
Globally, the report shows that strong recruitment targets, a shortage of talent, and disincentives to invest in training are contributing to the skills shortage, with 70% of employers around the world looking to increase the size of their cyber security staff this year.
The report describes a revolving door of scarce, highly paid workers with an unemployment rate of just 1% in Europe.
Organisations are also struggling to retain their staff, with 21% of the global workforce saying they have left their jobs in the past year, and facing high salary costs, with 33% of the workforce in Europe in particular making more than $100,000 (€95,000/£78,000) a year.
The combination of virtually non-existent unemployment, a shortage of workers, the expectation of high salaries, and high staff turnover that only increases among younger generations creates both a disincentive to invest in training and development and a conundrum for prospective employers of how to hire and retain talent in such an environment, the report states.
It recommends that organisations adapt their approach to recruitment and draw from a broader pool of talent.
Adrian Davis, managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at (ISC)2, said: “There are real structural concerns hampering the development of the job market today that must be addressed.
“It is particularly concerning that employers appear reluctant to invest in their workforce and are unwilling to hire less-experienced candidates. If we cannot be prepared to develop new talent, we will lose our ability to protect the economy and society.”
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