‘Unfortunately’ could have been added to the start of this blog title – it’s been a hellish year for IT security professionals. Or rather, it’s been a bad year for professionals who are on teams like those featured in lists like this one.
For others, for the new computer sciences graduates and experienced veterans with untarnished reputations, there has never been a better time to be in the field. It’s just a shame that the importance of the work done by IT security workers had to wait for multiple cases of huge personal data loss before it was recognised. Here are four reasons why we think cyber security is going to be a big market for recruitment in 2016:
Education, education, education
There simply aren’t enough information security specialists out there, but UK education institutions are working to change that. Pupils aged 16-19 can now take technology-focused alternatives to A-levels in a scheme backed by Microsoft, Sony and Siemens (among others). Cyber security is being introduced as an option next year, so expect there to be a flood of willing new disciples in the near future.
The UK government has also set up the Cyber Security Challenge – a series of national competitions, learning programmes, and networking initiatives designed to enable more EU citizens resident in the UK to become cyber security professionals.
Better safe than sorry
KMPG revealed that, from a survey of over 1200 global CEOs, 20% said that information security is the risk they are most concerned about, yet only half have take preemptive steps that involve appointing a cyber security team. If they truly wish to avoid being the next company spokesperson announcing a data breach to the media, common sense says they will be bolstering their security department headcount in 2016.
It’s green and it folds…
According to Manpower Recruitment, top (top!) UK cyber security experts are paid more than £10,000 a day, while it is considered normal to see salaries in lower positions pay between £750 to £3,000 a day. Any recruiter lucky enough to be tasked with finding dream jobs in this sector is going to enjoy healthy commission, especially with the limited supply of talent.
Recruiters are finally getting the message
In the past, recruitment professionals have struggled to find decent technology candidates in general, never mind cyber security specialists. They often searched in the wrong place, with the wrong message: phrases like ‘startup culture’, (which actually suggests low pay, long hours, and risk of no payoff) and generic calls for attention such as ‘Great New Opportunity!’ signalled that the recruiter hadn’t understood what was unique about the role specifically. But there’s a new breed of recruiter in town: Synack aims to bring top level white hat hackers together to work on common security issues, while HackerRank aim to help companies ask the right questions when interviewing IT professionals – both set up by security technology experts. Expect more specialist cyber talent recruitment platforms to follow.
In summary, recruitment in this sector is going to see a spike in activity over 2016 because more talent will be available to fill positions, company leaders are under pressure to prepare for cyber attacks, cyber security as a profession invites very high salaries (and commission for recruiters) and there will be better recruitment processes available for IT professionals.
By Alex Harvey
Ask me anything: @alextharv