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DCMS: Cyber skills and diversity are an ongoing problem

Government

12:00 Monday, 25 January 2021

UK Cyber Security Council

The UK Government’s department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has estimated that almost half of UK businesses – a total of 653,000 – have cyber skills gaps, with almost a third being in specialist areas such as penetration testing and over a quarter in incident response.

The DCMS’s report “Cyber security skills in the UK labour market 2020”, also notes that despite these gaps, smaller companies are not pushing their people to train in cyber security. While 59% and 57% of large firms and medium firms respectively are, the overall percentage of businesses encouraging training is a mere 24%, which implies a dearth of training at the small end of the scale.

The report notes, however, that the situation has improved since it was examined in 2018, with the proportion of businesses still experiencing skills gaps down from 54% to 48%, and an increase of 6% (to 23%) in companies that believe incident response skills are necessary.

The 88-page report goes into detail in a number of areas of cyber skills, not least the proportion of the cyber workforce whose previous role was in a non-cyber field (27%), the balance of education levels and types (27% of cyber sector companies have specialist cyber degrees, for example) and the popularity of the various professional cyber certifications (38% for the CISSP certification, with 14% holding the CISA qualification).