Cyber Security Skills Survey Reveals Critical Shortages and Opportunities in Ireland’s Growing Sector

Ireland’s Cyber Security Cluster conducted a Cyber Security Skills Survey among Cyber Ireland members. The survey shed light on the prevailing dynamics of the cyber security labor market in Ireland. With input from over 80 industry respondents, the survey examines critical aspects such as cyber security roles and certifications, hiring and retention practices, skills development, and gender diversity initiatives. Here’s a breakdown of the key findings:

Growth Sector & Skilled Workforce:

  • 62% of organizations plan to hire in 2021.
  • 82% intend to recruit technical security staff, with 50% aiming to hire new graduates.
  • 20 organizations reported 70 open cyber security positions.
  • 81% of organizations have staff with a general technical degree, while 50% possess individuals with a cyber security master’s degree and 11% with PhDs.

Skills Shortages:

  • 41% of organizations report understaffed security teams, with an additional 5% significantly understaffed.
  • 48% have open or unfilled cyber security roles.
  • 19% take six months or more to fill a cyber security position.
  • 43% of cyber security hires are from outside Ireland, with 28% from Europe and 15% from other regions.
  • The most challenging roles to fill include Security Engineer, Analyst, Architect, Consultant, and Specialist.

Skill Gaps:

  • 77% of open cyber security roles require technical skills.
  • 34% cite a lack of technical skills as the primary reason for unfilled positions.
  • To address skill gaps, 65% have increased staff training, nearly 30% rely more on AI or automation, and 25% rely more on certification.

Upskilling and Training:

  • 72% of organizations conducted an analysis of their cyber skills needs.
  • 52% have a formal cyber security training program.
  • 32% are dissatisfied or unsure of the effectiveness of their training.
  • 93% support employees in furthering their cyber security education and certification.

Courses & Graduates:

  • Cyber security graduate salaries are attractive, with almost a third earning between €25k-€35k and another third earning between €35k-€45k.
  • 26% of organizations believe graduates are less qualified than expected, and 5% consider them poorly qualified.
  • Only 17% of organizations have staff with a cyber security apprenticeship.

Gender Diversity:

  • 27% of organizations have all-male cyber security teams, while 42% significantly outnumber men compared to women.
  • 27% have difficulty retaining women in cyber security roles.
  • 30% of turnover is due to “family situation changes (e.g., children, marriage).”
  • 44% of organizations lack a diversity program to support women, or they are unaware of such initiatives.

These statistics underscore both the strengths and challenges within the cyber security sector in Ireland, emphasizing the need for concerted efforts by industry, academia, and government to address skill shortages, promote diversity, and ensure a robust cyber security workforce for the future.

Read the full report here.

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