Bridging the security talent gap will ensure a safer Britain

By , - Information Security

Wherever you look, there’s no denying that technology is a force to be reckoned with. This is especially true when considering the rapid change and disruption taking place across industries from retail to manufacturing to financial services.

Indeed, it was our very own Fit for Digital study that found that almost half of UK businesses believe they will not exist in their current form by 2021.

This of course also has massive implications for the future of the UK workforce.

With the skills gap costing the UK economy a jaw-dropping £63 billion a year, it’s clear that both the private and public sector still have a big role to play in encouraging the uptake of relevant subjects to the workplace among the next generation.

The launch of new ‘T-levels’ qualifications earlier this year highlighted just how high technology now is on the national agenda. After all, technology is no longer a nice-to-have but absolutely core to the future of the UK economy – especially as we enter into the age of the Internet of Things and smart cities.

Equipping the next generation with cyber-security skills

As we continue this journey towards an increasingly digital environment, cyber security is the talk about town.

This should be little surprise, considering the impact of recurring global ransomware cyber-attacks which have been plunging businesses all over the world into chaos.

It’s becoming clear that many organisations don’t know where to start or in some instances are out of their depth, when it comes to properly protecting themselves against these looming threats.

Why? Well, a lack of skills or a basic knowledge of IT Security certainly isn’t helping.

The Digital industry is facing such a significant shortage of talent in security skills, that we can’t circumvent it. And with the Information Security Certification Body predicting that Europe will see a shortage of 350,000 IT security staff by 2022, we can’t afford to ignore it and continue to spiral in this way.

In a bid to overcome this skills shortage, which is undermining confidence in the UK’s cyber defences, it was positive to see the recent news that students nationwide are being encouraged to consider taking part in a £20 million cyber security school programme.

This latest programme from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is a welcome step in helping tackle the problem. 6,000 students will be given the chance to learn the cutting-edge cyber security skills they need to fill a role that is an essential part of the digital age we now live in.

And with 71% of businesses pointing towards the skills shortage as directly responsible for measurable damage, the need to nurture and grow this talent has never been more important.

We all have a responsibility

Whilst Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation might help with this skills shortage, we also can’t leva it all to government programmes to help fill the gap.

Private sector organisations also need to realise the importance of investing in young talent through, for example, apprenticeships and graduate schemes. This is one reason why Fujitsu is now one of the leading organisations in the UK, recruiting school leavers for IT apprenticeship roles, as well as offering sponsored degrees and permanent jobs to university graduates.

Not only this, but it’s also critical for experts in the industry to share their own stories and insights as to what security is really like as a profession, so students can start to see it as an accessible profession that brings significant career choices and opportunities.

If you like me are in the IT industry, then we all have a responsibility to bring on talent that has an aptitude for security and then nurture their skills in a way that works for the company.

Casting the industry in this light will be a sure way to bring to life the purpose of cyber security, inspiring the next generation of experts to join the industry.

Rob Norris

Director of Enterprise & Cyber Security in UK & Ireland at Fujitsu

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