Based on the number of applicants to the UK government’s Upskill in Cyber programme, a record number of people are reportedly looking to start a career in cyber in 2023.
As of this year, the sector represents £10.5bn in annual revenue for the UK.
This announcement comes amid an ongoing cybersecurity skills gap in the UK, with the government’s report on the nation’s cybersecurity labour market in 2022 finding that 697,000 businesses (51%) have a basic skills gap.
What’s more, cyberattacks are on the rise, with both Uber and the NHS experiencing high-profile attacks last year. IT consultancy AAG IT reported that, in 2022, 39% of UK businesses claimed to have suffered from a similar incident.
The programme received more than 3,600 applications, with the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology having claimed that nearly half of these were submitted by women and that more than 50% came from people based outside London and the South East.
Currently, according the UK government’s analysis of the cybersecurity sector, this industry employs 58,005 people full-time and has seen an increase of 10% (5,300 jobs) since 2022.
The recruitment programme was established to bring in people from a non-cyber background. It has been delivered in partnership with the US cybersecurity training firm SANS Institute as part of the government’s £2.6bn National Cyber Strategy.
Last year, tech giant Google announced it would be building a £1bn ‘groundscraper’ headquarters in the King’s Cross area in London, which is hoped to boost the UK’s presence in this sector.
Cyber is currently seeing surging demand for new recruits, with the 2022 report indicating demand had increased by 58% between 2020 and 2021, with an average of 4,400 cyber job postings going up at the end of each month in 2022.
Security engineers made up 35% of these postings, followed by security analysts (18%), security managers (14%), security architects (11%) and security consultants (9%).
Chris Ensor, deputy director for cyber growth, National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), said: “Cybersecurity is an exciting and rapidly growing industry with opportunities in a wide range of areas. To meet this, we must build a sustainable – and crucially diverse – pipeline of talent.
“Collaboration across the industry will be key to filling the skills gap, including through initiatives like CyberFirst. We want to empower tomorrow’s cyber experts with the tools they need to keep the UK secure and resilient online.”
Programmes to encourage more people into cyber aside from Upskill in Cyber include Cyber First and Cyber Explorers, with the government hoping such initiatives will help embed cyber skills across the UK workforce and pave the way for a stronger digital economy.