Not many business would describe themselves as 'excited' about the rash of cyber attacks that's afflicted TalkTalk, JD Wetherspoon, Sony and Morgan Stanley among others. But every cloud has a silver lining – in this case for those working in cyber security. As execs panic about their IT systems, the first port of call will of course be the UK’s cyber security experts, who according to recruitment firm Manpower, can charge more than £10,000 a day for their services.
Its survey of more than 2,000 employers is by no means exhaustive, but Manpower found demand for the UK’s experts in cyber security had quadrupled over the last year – suggesting firms might finally be addressing a lacklustre approach to protecting their systems. Cyber crime is estimated to cause around £34bn worth of damage to the UK economy each year, with TalkTalk admitting the costs from its cyber attack could reach £35m.
Mark Cahill, the UK MD at Manpower, said the company expected the biggest growth area in 2016 to be ‘in cyber security crisis management’ with large organisations ‘bolstering their own in-house security teams as well as calling on specialist contractors’. The increase in pay came against a backdrop of strong employment trends going into the New Year, according to the company.
The surprising thing is that it’s taken established names so long to get up to speed on such a sensitive topic, but the realisation that attacks are costing their peers firms heavily – both financially and in reputational terms - has seen firms scrambling to get their houses in order. It’ll be interesting to see if the number of registered companies signed up to GCHQ’s Cyber Essentials programme rises – to date only 1,200 of the UK’s 3.5m have expressed interest.
From Manpower’s own client database, requests from employers looking for IT security expertise had quadrupled, though interestingly, the motivation appears to be shifting. Cyber hacks have become something of an inevitability rather than something that can happen to someone else, so companies are investing both for protection, but also to cover how to respond to attacks after the event.
With even the less established security experts raking in figures in excess of £3,000 each day, hackers might be keeping big firm bosses up at night, but they’re also keeping the outlook rosy for cyber security specialists.