European organizations are looking to expand their cyber workforce, which will most likely cause demand to outstrip the supply of expertise. According to the 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study, a good 40% of European firms want to expand their cyber security teams by 15% over the next year. Experts believe if this projection continues, it will lead to a shortage of 350,000 cyber security professionals across Europe by 2022.

The demand for cyber security is due to the increase in global security concerns, with the threat of data exposure identified as the top security concern among professionals. These concerns are linked to new regulations aimed at improving data protection around the world, including Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The deadline for organizations to comply with the GDPR will be May of next year. Afterwards, those found in breach of the regulation faces fines of up to €20m or 4% of global turnover.

The study also revealed that over 90% of hiring managers admit they prioritise previous cyber security experience when choosing new candidates, and that the majority of their recruitment comes from their own professional networks. Hiring managers also admitted that they are relying on their social and professional networks (48%), followed closely by their organisation’s HR department (47%), as their number one source of recruitment.

Due to this projected shortage in cyber security professionals, the report calls for employers to do more to embrace newcomers and a changing workforce. According to the report, training and a willingness to hire promising people from outside the existing cybersecurity workforce will be crucial. Workers with non-computing backgrounds account for nearly a fifth of the current workforce in Europe and employers need to open their doors to new, younger and more diverse talent.