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Ireland could increase its cybersecurity workforce to 17,000 by 2030

A new report outlines the opportunity for Ireland to grow and develop its cybersecurity sector – but it depends on “a supply of suitably qualified people”.

A new report has revealed that Ireland could increase its cybersecurity workforce to over 17,000 by 2030.

The report, carried out by Cyber ​​Ireland and Cyber ​​Skills, found that there are currently 489 cybersecurity companies in Ireland employing 7,300 cybersecurity professionals in 734 offices.

This is the first study by these groups to map the cybersecurity industry in Ireland. Its findings will be used by Cyber ​​Ireland, the national cybersecurity cluster organization, to inform its future policy decisions in the sector.

Of companies currently operating in Ireland, 83% surveyed for the report said they expect their cybersecurity team to grow over the next 12 months, and more than half (51%) expect this growth occurs at a rate of 25% or more.

“Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing industry, and we have the potential in Ireland to grow this industry to 17,000 jobs and €2.5 billion in annual GVA. [gross value added] by 2030, with the right business supports and measures,” said Dr Eoin Byrne, Cluster Leader at Cyber ​​Ireland.

Byrne added that the Irish infosec industry currently contributes €1.1 billion to GVA per year. In the most recent financial year, cybersecurity-related revenue in Ireland is estimated to have reached around €2.1 billion.

However, as Byrne pointed out, growth in this sector may depend on securing the right supports.

In the report, 61% of companies surveyed noted staffing issues, such as a lack of candidates in the job market with the right skill level (41%), competition from other cybersecurity companies (33% ), lack of soft skills (22%), or unaffordable salaries (21pc).

More than a quarter (26 percent) of respondents also experienced problems raising or obtaining funding.

Quick access to investors, as well as the availability of skills courses for cybersecurity professionals, have been identified as crucial for the success of the sector in the future.

Professor Donna O’Shea, chair of cybersecurity at Munster University of Technology, said Ireland’s ability to grow and develop the cybersecurity sector depends “on a supply of suitably qualified people “.

O’Shea also runs Cyber ​​Skills, an infosec education initiative funded by the Irish Higher Education Authority. It was created last year to address skills shortages in the cybersecurity industry and works with industry and academic partners.

Welcoming the report, Minister of State for Public Procurement, eGovernment and the Circular Economy, Ossian Smyth, TD, referred to “several significant cybersecurity incidents over the past few years”, including the ransomware incident affecting the HSE in May last year.

A report released today (16 May) by global specialist insurer Hiscox Group found that the frequency of cyberattacks in Ireland rose by 26% year-on-year. The company’s Cybersecurity Readiness Report surveyed around 200 businesses in Ireland, 49% of which said they had suffered a cyberattack in the past 12 months, up from 39% the previous year.

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