Boom time for cyber-security contractors

Boom time for cyber-security contractors

28 July 2015

IT security is big business. With cyber attacks costing companies an eye-watering $445bn globally last year, and new UK and EU privacy regulations coming into force, organisations of all sizes are finally taking steps to protect their data and intellectual property.  

This new-found sense of urgency is creating an unprecedented number of opportunities for those with expertise in the field. Indeed, recruitment firm Stott and May has reported that cyber security professionals are “currently in incredibly high demand – and accordingly in limited supply.”

Simon Kouttis, technical lead at the London-based agency, told Computer Weekly: “The demand is a consequence of how quickly technology is evolving, with very limited skills at the maturity required to satisfy the demand. Companies compete heavily for such candidates, draining the talent pool of the most obvious prospects for a new cyber security team.”

The shortage of qualified, suitable permanent candidates is good news for contractors and freelancers, who are able to step in and provide a short-term answer to a company’s skills needs. As a highly-paid specialist, a contractor will hit the ground running and focus on delivering that vital security project on time.

Meanwhile, industry bible The Engineer has reported that the growing threat of cyber crime is creating a wide range of career opportunities for engineers – particularly those with data analysis and outcome modelling skills.

Stephanie Daman, CEO of skills initiative The Cyber Security Challenge, echoed Kouttis’ concerns around skills – describing the “disconnect” between the world-class talent that exists in the UK and the number of job candidates with the right qualifications as hugely worrying.

Ms Daman’s comments contain an important lesson for contractors, according to our operations director, Neil Armitage.

“The message is loud and clear”, he said. “Cyber security experts are like gold dust at the moment, and there is a serious lack of permanent candidates who fit the bill. 

“This skills gap is great news for contractors, as it will create new assignment opportunities and push up rates, but qualifications are very important. We would therefore urge contractors looking to gain more work in this field to set aside time and boost their CV by completing a course or two.

“You can be the most highly-skilled expert out there, but ultimately it’s qualifications that will often make or break your hopes of securing an assignment.”