A recent report conducted by Cyber Ireland and Cyber Skills, which is the first of its kind in Ireland, has found that there is an opportunity to position Ireland as a global leader in cyber security and to grow the workforce to over 17,000 by 2030. These are among the findings of the report which identified 489 cyber security companies operating across Ireland that employ cyber security teams.
Minister of State with responsibility for Public Procurement, eGovernment and Circular Economy, Mr Ossian Smyth, addressed the report “There have been several significant cyber security incidents in the past number of years, including the incident affecting the HSE in May of last year. I welcome the collaboration between Cyber Ireland and Cyber Skills on The State of the Cyber Security Sector report in Ireland. These findings will be key in developing our ambitious targets to support future growth and development of the cyber security sector in the years ahead.”
Cluster Manager of Cyber Ireland, Dr Eoin Byrne stated “This report shows the size and scale of the cyber security sector, critical to our economy and society, which employs 7,300 professionals and contributes €1.1bn in Gross Value Added (GVA) per annum. Cyber security is a rapidly growing industry, and we have the potential in Ireland to grow this industry to 17,000 jobs and €2.5bn in annual GVA by 2030, with the right business supports and measures.”
While the findings of the report confirmed that 83% of businesses expect their cyber security team to grow over the next twelve months, 61% have noted a recruitment, training and retention issue, such as a lack of candidates in the labour market with the appropriate skill level (41%), lack of non-technical skills (22%), or unaffordable salaries (21%). Access to training and education is essential in the industry to ensure demand for skills does not outweigh supply.
Professor Donna O’Shea, Chair of Cybersecurity at Munster Technological University (MTU), added “The opportunity for Ireland to grow and develop the cyber security sector to 17,000 professionals, is dependent on a supply of suitably qualified individuals. The HEA Cyber Skills initiative aims to address the challenge of talent and skills, by reducing barriers to participation in the industry, upskilling and reskilling professionals making them industry ready upon completion of their courses. This is done with expertise drawn from top industry leaders and collaboration within the scientific community.”
Investment in cyber security firms hit record levels in 2021 of over $20b globally, and over the past 5 years 20 Irish cyber security firms raised over €110m in external investment to fund expansion and growth in operations. However, it was found that 26% of businesses that responded have faced issues with raising or securing finance. Quick access to investors is essential for funding, development, competition, connections & access to markets and Irish cyber security start-ups require this funding to scale their business rapidly to meet the demands of the market.