The State of Cyber: What the Sector’s Growth Means

Cyber employees looking at computer screens.

The costs, commitment and time involved in taking on more staff mean those who make hiring decisions always have one eye on the future. But while their immediate focus is usually dominated by workflow, budgets and staffing questions, looking beyond the short term can reveal valuable insights that help them make better hires now.

Indeed has a front-row seat on trends in the jobs market; our data gives us an unparalleled snapshot of who is hiring, whom they are looking for, and who the jobseekers are.

Following the first, second and third parts of this blog series, which explored the jobs that are hardest to recruit for, the trends in demand for languages, and the UK’s fastest growing jobs, this time we are examining one of the country’s hottest sectors, the cyber industry.

The cyber security sector is booming right now. Across Indeed’s website, postings for cyber-related roles increased by nearly a sixth (14.58%) between 2017 and 2018, tracking a steady rise in employer demand for cyber staff.

This trend is set to continue, with more companies – and public sector organizations – than ever aware that their day-to-day operations revolve around swathes of sensitive data. For such employers, maintaining the security of their data has taken on a vital importance.

So what can a look at the present state of the cyber sector teach us about where the wider jobs market may be heading? Which companies are ahead of the curve when it comes to addressing their cyber staffing needs? And, as the cyber sector becomes ever more mainstream, which are the roles employers need to fill most urgently?

Big Four taking cyber into account

While cyber postings are up across the UK as a whole, who are the most active employers of this talent?

KPMG is the UK's top cyber employer.

Indeed’s analysis highlights the accountancy sector as a notable cyber sphere, with the industry’s ‘Big Four’ firms – KPMG, PwC, EY and Deloitte – all leading the way as the UK’s top hirers of cyber talent.

KPMG and PwC are especially active, with cyber roles accounting for one in every 17 (5.95%) of the former’s new recruits and one in 20 (5.08%) new hires at the latter.

While it’s striking that the ‘Big Four’ dominate all four top spots in our league table, it’s perhaps not surprising. By definition accountancy firms need to store lots of sensitive financial information, and they therefore require robust cyber defenses.

But whether their huge demand for cyber professionals merely reflects the nature of the industry or is the by-product of a period of expansion is moot.

What is more certain is that demand will remain high until all these positions are filled.

It’s telling that many large organizations now talk of ‘critical’ infrastructure rather than ‘IT’ infrastructure. Every aspect of a modern company relies on it’s IT, and the growing threat of cyber attack and tightening of privacy laws means there is intense competition for professionals who are able to protect companies’ most precious information.

Jobs = security

Just as there is variety among the top 20 cyber hirers – financial, tech and consumer behemoths all rank highly – there is also a range of different roles within the cyber sphere.

IT Security Specialist is the UK's top cyber role.

Given the strength of employer demand, cyber security roles can pay well. Every one of the top 10 most in-demand jobs pays an average annual salary above the national average of £27,600.

Leading the way is the role of ‘IT security specialist’, which has nearly three times more demand among employers than the second placed ‘security engineer’.

Behind them are ‘security consultant’ and ‘information security analyst’, with ‘IT auditor’ completing the top five.

The table also shows how lucrative a career as a cyber specialist can be, with the top ten roles paying an average just shy of £45,000 a year.

The cyber future

So with our ‘future of jobs’ hat on, what can we learn from all this?

Although other sectors are sure to catch up soon, cyber roles are most prominent in their traditional heartlands of accountancy and finance. However, supply and demand dynamics may soon dictate that sectors where demand is high at present will see a drop once they locate a decent supply – meaning that other fields will, proportionally, be seeking more cyber workers in due course.

The specialist nature of cyber roles can place a premium on the right staff, particularly those overseeing security. With demand for IT security specialists currently three times higher than it is for any other role, these workers look likely to remain highly sought after for the foreseeable future.

Some companies have already proved themselves agile at responding to the shift in privacy laws and data protection, while others will need to expand their cyber teams rapidly as their business grows.

And as cyber security expands into other sectors, it is particularly instructive to look at the specific roles that are currently being sought after by the early adopters.

As we have seen, these roles are already lucrative, and if demand continues to grow, their salaries will surely increase. Anyone looking at a new or future career path could do a lot worse than to target the burgeoning cyber sector, as opportunities abound and there’s little sign of that slowing down any time soon.

Methodology: Top cyber roles and cyber employers based on Indeed data over 2017 and 2018.  “Cyber jobs” are measured by looking at a curated list of normalized job titles within the cyber security and information technology sectors.

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