Just half of UK businesses have the right skills to combat a cyberattack

Only half (50 percent) of UK companies believe they have the right skills to address a cyberattack, despite some high profile cyberattacks this year against the NHS, Uber and Equifax. A lack of cybersecurity skills may be due to a wider skills gaps facing the UK tech industry, claims new research from IT jobs board, CW Jobs. Nearly a third of tech employees reported feeling they were insufficiently trained in coding, cybersecurity and cloud migration. The gaps in employees’ skills is translating to the businesses they work for with 23 percent saying their business is missing programming and cybersecurity skills. A little over half (51 percent) of IT workers said that cybersecurity was included in their training, and almost one in four (23 percent) say they are not confident in handling a cyber security attack. Despite the growing threat and lack of in-house expertise, only half (50 percent) of employers look for cybersecurity skills when recruiting new IT talent. However, despite awareness around the risk of cybersecurity and the lack of preparedness, only 22 percent of employers are currently training their existing staff in cybersecurity.

Three-quarters (75 percent) of employers agree that universities should be responsible for making sure tech employees are equipped with the necessary skills the industry is currently lacking. However, of the graduates entering the tech industry, 38 percent of tech employers believe they are lacking the necessary cybersecurity skills needed.

Of the companies looking to recruit cybersecurity experts, 82 percent are currently struggling to fill these roles, with 30 percent believing this is due to an industry skills gap and 25 percent saying it’s down to being a competitive hiring market for people with these skills.

How to address the cybersecurity skills gap?

Dominic Harvey, Director, CWJobs said: “The government has started taking steps to address the skills gap with plans to treble the number of computer science teachers in schools, introduce a national centre for computing, and boost digital skills with the provision of distance learning courses.”

It is welcome news for tech employers. Prior to these measures being announced, CWJobs found that 65 percent of employers thought the government had not invested enough in training the next generation of tech employees.

Employers are not shirking their responsibilities either, with only 55 percent of those surveyed saying their company has its own training programme for entry-level employees, who are looking to be trained in a new area of their business, and 58 percent of employers are retraining existing staff to address the skills gap.

Dominic Harvey, also added: “It’s really encouraging to see the government listened to the concerns of the tech industry and responded by putting in plans to upskill the next generation of tech employees. This is not only important for the UK to keep pace globally, but so that businesses and organisations can be adequately prepared in the event of a cyber security attack, for instance.

“Now that we have a commitment from Government – and a clearer sense of where the skills are needed in areas like coding and cybersecurity – all parties can make a concerted effort to direct the new resources where they are needed most.”