Woman working on cyber security on a computer

Report outlines causes of cyber security skills gap

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology has published a new report that investigates the level of cyber security skills in the UK, including the public sector.

In the Cyber security skills in the UK labour market 2023 report, which was researched by Ipsos, it was discovered that there is a significant skills gap across the public sector. One of the causes of this is the tight budgets that many organisations are under.

Screenshot of DSIT report cover

One contributor to the research spoke about the impact that funding is having, and is quoted in the document as saying:

“At the moment, we’re not getting funding streams through to do what we’re doing… Budgetary constraints are incredibly ferocious at the moment. Cybersecurity is a 24/7 problem. And we’re not paid to do that. So, everything’s been done on kind of grace and favour and best endeavours outside of hours.”

Alongside funding limitations holding back the cyber security of public sector organisations, there are also struggles around defining career pathways into public sector cyber security. The research suggested that this could be down to a lack of available roles, but it did also suggest that funding could be a contributing factor.

Another contributor, working for a public sector organisation with 1,000 or more employees, told the report:

“There are currently no defined career pathways. The council won’t contribute to the costs. We currently are offering no career pathways in cyber roles and cannot offer any apprenticeships. You are expected to have the knowledge or experience already and, if a role becomes available, then to apply for this role.”

Touching on the level of the skills gap that has opened up across the sector, the report stated that 30% of public bodies have an advanced skills gap, which is less than other sectors, however there is still concern about the capability of staff to keep systems secure. The research outlined how there is more scepticism surrounding staff using sufficiently strong passwords than in businesses, whilst 19% of respondents were also not confident in their organisation’s ability to write an incident response plan.

With the emphasis that is being placed on improving cyber security across the public sector, it would be believed that issues can be addressed before the gap widens. Seemingly, this could be rectified through increased funding and a more defined pathway for those wishing to embark on careers in public sector cyber security. More scope for apprenticeships, and a willingness to develop skills could see the gap close, especially with the noted increase in demand for cyber security professionals.


Image credit: iStock

PSE August/September 2023

PSE August/September 2023

London mayor assisting with creative COVID recovery

Our  August/September 2023 edition of PSE brings you expert comment and analysis on a range of key public sector topics, from EV infrastructure to Digital transformation and reducing carbon emissions.


Learn how the role of local government in leading the data revolution or read all about the Manchesters landmark housing scheme, alongside so much more…


View all videos
#PSE365: Public Sector Events

Be A Part Of It!

PSE365: Public Sector Virtual Events

PSE has created a full calendar of events to address the most important issues that influence the delivery of public sector services. 


Over 365 days you’ll have the opportunity to hear from a range of highly motivating, informative and inspirational speakers. These speakers will equip you with knowledge and unique insight to enable you to overcome the challenges that you face.


See our full events calendar and register now! 

Public Sector Executive Podcast

Ep. 44
LGBT in the workplace
with Carl Austin Behan

In episode 44 of the Public Sector Executive Podcast, host Dan Benn was joined by former Lord Mayor of Manchester, Carl Austin-Behan OBE. Carl spoke about everything ranging from his time in the RAF, being Manchester’s first openly gay Lord Mayor, and the important work he does now, with the LGBT Foundation.

More articles...

View all