Record numbers looking to kickstart cyber career, claims UK Government


    • Over 3,600 people are looking to embark on a new career in cyber this year through applications to the Government’s Upskill in Cyber programme
    • Programme supports the Prime Minister’s priority of growing the economy by creating better-paid jobs.
    • Almost half of applications come from women with more than 50% from outside London and the South East
    • UK Cyber Sector annual revenues now top £10.5 billion as of 2023

A record number of people are looking to embark on a new career in cyber this year through applications to the Government’s Upskill in Cyber programme.

Of the more than 3,600 applications received, almost half have been submitted by women with more than 50% coming from people based outside London and the South East, demonstrating the diverse pool of talent waiting to be unlocked across the UK.

Aimed at people from a non-cyber background and delivered in partnership with the SANS Institute, the scheme is the latest in a series of  programmes delivered through the government’s £2.6 billion National Cyber Strategy.

This is all part of the Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology’s plans to build a thriving tech workforce and secure the resilience of the future digital economy while supporting the Prime Minister’s priority of growing the economy and creating better paid jobs.

Says Minister for AI and Intellectual Property, Viscount Camrose:

“The UK’s cyber sector is growing exponentially. In just 12 months we’ve seen our 58,000 strong workforce jump by 10%, and ensuring we can maintain a steady supply of diverse, highly-skilled professionals is vital to meet the needs of our growing digital economy.

It’s encouraging to see record numbers from a wide range of backgrounds and communities coming forward for this year’s Upskill in Cyber Programme. However, this is ultimately just one piece of the puzzle.

“We must continue our work with industry and education to improve tech skills across the economy, and we are continuing to invest in the potential of our brightest minds at all levels to unlock opportunity for people right across the country”.

Adds Michael Smith, CTO at Vercara:

“Cyber skills are in huge demand across the economy. New industry and government-led initiatives such as this one can attract more people to the cybersecurity field, but a long-term solution to the skills gap requires a more holistic approach, led by cybersecurity leaders, that prioritises developing talent from within. It’s more than a recruitment plan; it’s a practical long-term cybersecurity strategy.

“This is necessary because when we hire staff in this industry, we expect them to have such a wide range of skills that no one person will have the exact combination that is in the job description. When we do find somebody with all of those skills, they are usually outside of commuting distance and they’re incredibly expensive.

 “With the ongoing skills shortage, CISOs are having to become more creative and hands-on in finding and attracting talent. There are some great alternative approaches that can help security leaders opt out of the cybersecurity talent arms race, though they require some ingenuity and patience. In the meantime, leaders should continue to make use of these industry or government-led programmes aimed at expanding the talent pipeline.”

Cyber skills are in huge demand across the economy. Last year’s cyber security skills in the UK labour market report found that 51% of businesses have a basic cyber skills gap, with an average of 21,600 new recruits needed every year to meet demand in the cyber sector.


Chris Price
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