Creating more jobs in cyber security is high on the agenda in light of the government’s forthcoming Online Safety Bill and launch of flagship services designed to help millions of UK small businesses stay secure online.
Opportunities for cyber security professionals
The opportunities are endless for skilled professionals, with many talented workers entering the industry and quickly progressing and diversifying their careers in line with technological developments.
One of the latest examples is artificial intelligence which, in early 2023, made headlines as the latest mainstream tech revolution.
From chatbots writing news articles to offering mental health counselling, these exciting publicly-accessible services also open up the potential for abuse by cybercriminals.
The threat increases with the rise in people working remotely: more personal devices are connected to the cloud, and without enough security experts to monitor these growing networks, attacks are becoming more common and more sophisticated.
Meanwhile, many organisations in both the private and public sectors are still in the process of digital adoption, infrastructure/security upgrades, and driving efficiency to deliver their strategic objectives.
This places a high demand for highly qualified professionals to take up cyber security jobs to help employers safeguard their businesses for the future.
Challenges for cyber security professionals
Companies that have the best cyber security talent will be the most likely to head off attacks, but many are struggling to attract such skilled professionals.
Employers are not offering attractive remuneration and benefits packages to attract professionals to cyber security jobs – and this is putting their companies at risk. It’s wise for businesses to look at their talent attraction tactics, their employee value proposition, and salaries and meaningful benefits.
More focus on the sector’s lack of diversity is gradually opening doors. Reed’s own successful Women in Technology Mentoring Programme is helping to support more women in the industry.
How to get into cyber security jobs: qualifications and skills
The qualifications needed for cyber security jobs can vary depending on the specific job and industry. The most common qualifications and skills required include:
A bachelor's degree in computer science, cyber security, or a related field is typically required for entry-level and graduate cyber security jobs. Some advanced positions may require a master's degree.
Professional certifications, such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and CompTIA Security+, are often required or preferred by employers.
Cyber security professionals should have a strong understanding of networking, programming, and operating systems. They should also be familiar with security tools and techniques, such as intrusion detection and prevention, firewalls, and encryption.
Professionals in the field must be able to analyse large amounts of data and identify patterns and anomalies that may indicate a security breach or attack.
Good communication skills are essential for cyber security professionals, as they often need to explain technical information to non-technical stakeholders.
Those working in the industry must be able to think creatively and develop innovative solutions to complex security challenges.
Cyber security professionals are responsible for protecting sensitive data and must have a strong ethical foundation to maintain trust with stakeholders.
Overall, a combination of education, certifications, technical skills, analytical and problem-solving abilities, communication skills, and ethical principles are essential for a successful career in cybersecurity.
Cyber security: salary by region
Cyber security salaries in the UK are on the rise, with good reason. The demand for qualified professionals is growing exponentially, owing to increased threats and the proliferation of connected devices. In response, employers have had to drastically raise their remuneration packages across the range of cyber security jobs in order to attract top talent.
Generally speaking, those employed in London tend to receive higher average wages than their counterparts elsewhere in the country because of the greater concentration of corporate and financial organisations that require top-tier security services.
Ultimately, with the right qualifications, experience and expertise, cyber security professionals in the UK can expect to earn a good salary no matter where they are based.
Average salary ranges for cyber roles in 2023
Salaries for cyber professionals vary by region – let's take a look at the averages for 2023:
Cyber security analyst
Identifying security vulnerabilities and risks; analysing security data; conducting security audits; developing and implementing security policies and procedures; providing security advice and training; monitoring and responding to security incidents.
Cyber security salaries in London are averaging £76,500 per year for an analyst position, while roles in the North are around £45,000. In Northern Ireland, professionals are looking at £36,400 – a decrease in 2022 salaries. In the South of England, salaries are on the rise, at £54,900.
Cyber security consultant
Responsibilities: Conducting risk assessments; developing security policies; implementing security solutions; conducting penetration testing; providing training and education; monitoring and incident response.
Salaries: In the Midlands and East of England, average cyber security salaries for consultant positions are an average of £58,400, while their London counterparts are looking at £77,700. In Wales, the figure is £70,300, and in the South, professionals can expect £72,900.
Cyber security manager
Responsibilities: Developing and implementing cyber security policies and procedures; managing security operations; conducting risk assessments; monitoring cyber threats; developing incident response plans; training employees on cyber security best practices.
Salaries: In London, professionals can expect an average of £117,200; in Northern Ireland, the average is £71,500; £65,800 in Scotland, and £73,200 in Wales. In the Midlands and East, average salaries are £79,000, an increase in 2022 pay.
Responsibilities: Designing security architectures; developing security policies and procedures; conducting risk assessments; reviewing and recommending security technologies; conducting security audits; providing security guidance; responding to security incidents.
Salaries: In Wales, average salaries are £98,900; in the South, £109,200, while professionals based in London can expect salaries of £124,500 and in the North of England £90,800. The Midlands and East have seen a 13.9% salary rise, now standing at a £97,300 average.
Responsibilities: Identifying and assessing potential security threats; designing and implementing security solutions; monitoring and maintaining security systems; investigating security breaches; educating employees; keeping up-to-date with security trends and technologies; collaborating with other teams; creating and maintaining documentation.
Salaries: Southern-based security engineers can expect to earn £65,800; in Wales, the average is £63,400. In Scotland, salaries for the role are on the rise at £73,200 – a 16.6% increase on 2022 pay. In Northern Ireland, salaries are also on the up at £49,700 – an 18.8% increase.
Download our free technology salary guide
Check out our 2023 technology guide to UK cyber security salary averages by region. It provides detailed insight into current salary trends across the country, so you can make an informed decision about where to apply for a job.
Cyber security job benefits for employees
Cyber security jobs often require highly-skilled professionals, and employers are willing to reward them well for their services, with many positions in line for bonuses and raises based on performance.
Other cyber security job perks can include flexible working hours, travel opportunities, access to cutting-edge technology, and even stock options.
Most cyber security teams also take part in interesting projects and have the chance to work with some of the most innovative minds in their field. As such, many cyber security jobs offer plenty of room for personal growth and development.
Medical insurance is often included with cyber security jobs as well, and many organisations provide additional benefits such as free meals, gym memberships, childcare vouchers, and more.
Many companies are offering remote positions for cyber security professionals, especially in fields such as penetration testing, incident response, security consulting, and security analysis.
Working from home, as now experienced by many in tech roles and across other sectors, is highly prized, with many professionals viewing it as a standard practice rather than a benefit.
See our 2023 technology salary guide for more information.