UPSKILLING people from a diverse range of backgrounds is crucial to addressing the UK’s cyber security skills gap and could create thousands of highly skilled jobs across Scotland, according to the UK Cyber Security Council.
The comments come at the start of CyberScotland Week, hosted by CyberScotland to deliver educational and informative events both physically and virtually across Scotland. The UK Cyber Security Council is working with Skills Development Scotland to deliver a webinar ‘Career Progression in Cyber’ on Friday 3rd March from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm. This webinar will help educate people about opportunities in the cyber security sector.
Government statistics show that the UK’s cyber sector is facing a workforce gap of 14,100 people each year. According to Scottish Government data, the gap in Scotland in 2020 was estimated at between 620 and 840 unfilled vacancies. At the same time, almost 40 per cent of businesses across the UK reported they had identified a cyber attack in the past 12 months.
Research from the University of Birmingham and software company Avast published in 2022 also found that Scotland was the third most affected region of the UK by cyber crime, with 63% of the population impacted.
However, despite the high risk of cyber attacks and the fact that many businesses and organisations are looking to bolster their cyber defences, the scarcity of cyber professionals in Scotland is leaving many vulnerable.
Tackling this is one of the key aims of the UK Cyber Security Council, a chartered, government funded organisation which has been created to help encourage more people into the cyber sector while setting a universally-recognised professional standard and ethical framework for the industry.
The UK Cyber Security Council said: “Cyber Security is a really strategically important sector for Scotland and the wider UK. The government is committed to making the UK the safest place in the world to live and work online and in order to achieve that ambition we need to encourage more people into the industry. We need to address the skills gap and build a really deep and robust cyber security sector filled with skilled practitioners.
“That means attracting talent from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences into the sector. It could be students wanting to take their first step into the profession, or it could be people looking at a career change. Whatever your background, our message is clear – there is a place for you in the cyber sector.
“If we can encourage more people from across Scotland into the sector then that’s great for cyber but it’s also great for Scotland. Jobs in the cyber sector are highly skilled and well paid – the average salary for a cyber practitioner in Scotland is £54,900. There’s a fantastic opportunity to upskill people across Scotland to help meet the current shortfall in cyber practitioners. Doing so could create thousands of jobs deliver a genuine long term boost to the Scottish economy.
Part of how the Council is doing this is ensuring its careers framework clearly maps onto the Scottish Government’s strategic framework, so Scottish businesses can easily map their skills and expertise. The Council also engages with Scottish cyber security institutions, and is a member of the CyberScotland partnership.”
CEO of the UK Cyber Security Council, Professor Simon Hepburn, recently spoke about what this partnership means to him.
Commissioned in 2019 by the Department for Media Culture and Sport (DCMS), the Council is tasked with promoting and stewarding nationally recognised standards for cyber security in support of the UK Government’s National Cyber Security Strategy.
The Council is currently rolling out pilot schemes for each of the cyber security specialisms aligned to its professional standard. Each offers cyber practitioners the opportunity to receive a Council-recognised Professional Title at either Associate, Principal or Chartered level.
To learn more about routes into the cyber industry, please visit the UK Cyber Security Council’s website: https://www.ukcybersecuritycouncil.org.uk/careers-learning/careers-route-map/