Cyber Security Skills Report 2021


A Cyber Security Skills Report was conducted with Cyber Ireland members to provide a better understanding of the current cyber security labour market in Ireland. The survey aimed to:

1. To identify the current skills, skills gaps and skills shortages are across organisations in Ireland;
2. To asses the effects of the cyber skills shortages;
3. To show the skill needs organisations are challenged to meet through training & recruitment;
4. To understand Gender diversity and inclusion programs in the cyber security industry; and
5. To develop the necessary recommendations for Government, Academia and Industry to address skills gaps and shortages.


Ireland’s cyber security sector and employment is growing, reflecting global growth in the cyber security market. However, internationally there are reports of a severe shortage of Cyber Security professionals with estimates of a global shortfall between 1.8 and 3.5 million security professionals within five years. Presently, there is a lack of skills data specific to cyber security in Ireland and this provides a challenge in understanding the current skills landscape, needs and where there are challenges.


In September 2020, the survey was issued to, and completed by, Cyber Ireland member companies considered to be part of the Cyber Security Cluster. The respondent group represents indigenous and foreign companies, primarily from the cyber security sector but also includes companies with cyber security teams across a diverse range of sectors.

Cyber Ireland Skills Report


The survey comprised a total of forty-one (41) questions covering five main areas:

  • Demographics of the survey respondents
  • The most prevalent cyber security roles, qualifications and skills in the industry
  • Challenges with cyber security recruitment
  • Investments in training and development
  • Questions related to gender diversity in the sector

After the survey, a workshop was conducted in December 2020 with the industry respondents to gather feedback and develop the recommendations. This allowed for further investigation of results and for industry to highlight challenges relating to cyber security skills, recruitment, retention and training.


The results of the survey and the workshop were analysed by Carmel Somers (Human Capital Strategist at Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet) and Dr. Eoin Byrne (Cyber Ireland Cluster Manager). From this, we have the Cyber Security Skills Report.

Official Launch Webinar

On Thursday 25th February we launched our Cyber Security Skills Report 2021 with over 200 attendees who joined us to see the key findings, recommendations and a panel discussion with leaders who are actively addressing the cyber skills shortage in Ireland.

See the Launch Slide Deck below:

Panel Discussion

A panel discussion was held with leaders and organisations who are actively addressing the cyber skills shortage in Ireland:


Carmel SomersCarmel Somers, Human Capital Strategist at Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet where she supports organisations on their Future of Work journey.  Over a thirty-year career at IBM, Carmel held a number of local and global leadership roles in research & development, consulting services and operations. Having qualified as an Organisational Psychologist she held the position of Talent Manager for IBM’s Ireland Lab, and set-up IBM’s first European Technology for Good team within IBM’s Corporate Social Responsibility division in 2018.  As an advocate of lifelong learning and shaping the future work, Carmel chairs the Cyber Security Skills Initiative (CSI) Advisory Board, is a member of Blockchain Ireland’s Education Working Group and a member of Technology Ireland’s Innovation Forum and sits on the Institute of Digital Business’ External Advisory Board (IIDB).  In addition, Carmel is a board member of Cyber Ireland where she leads the Talent & Skills Working Group and is a member of the Department of Environment, Climate & Communication’s Cyber Security Working Group. 



DonnaDonna O’Shea, Cybersecurity Skills Initiative. Donna O’Shea holds position of Chair of Cybersecurity in Cork Institute of Technology, is co-Principal Investigator at the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) research centre CONFIRM and Funded Investigator at the SFI research centre CONNECT and ENABLE and group lead of Ríomh – Intelligent Secure Systems research group. Donna currently leads a Higher Education Authority (HEA) Human Capital Initiative (HCI) project called CYBER-SKILLS which is a nationally funded project with aims to address the cybersecurity skills challenge and this is in collaboration with UCD, UL, TU Dublin and Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) Virginia Tech, US.

Donna’s research expertise lies in the area of enterprise security (i.e. SDN and NFV security) and network and service management with a specific focus on the design, analysis and optimisation of wired and wireless communication systems, networks and services. Donna is passionate about promoting science and technology as a career for women and men, is a director of IT@Cork a not-for-profit independent business organisation representing the interests of the IT industry in Cork and is an IEEE Senior Member. 



Rosie Rosie Coffey, Cyber Women Ireland. Head of Enterprise Architecture & Security in University of Limerick.  This group is responsible for aligning the IT Strategy with the University Strategy by providing governance around adoption of Technology, Cloud and IT Security

Rosie has spent the last 6 years working in the higher education sector in the IT Security field,  and currently holds the position of Head of Enterprise Architecture & Security in University of Limerick.  Prior to this she spent 14 years in the manufacturing industry, with a variety of technical lead roles (DBA, Security) covering major global projects (SAP, MII), and most recently as Solutions Architect for PepsiCo.

Twitter: @rosiecoff

The panelists were asked:

  • What do you see as being the biggest challenge for cyber security skills from your experience & the survey results? Watch the Answer
  • Why is diversity so important in the cyber security sector? Watch the Answer
  • How can we ensure Ireland can develop a sustainable supply of cyber security talent so companies can compete internationally? Watch the Answer

If you’re interested in understanding the cyber security skills shortage in Ireland, its impact on industry and what we (industry-academia-government) can do to address these challenges, watch the following webinar:

Here you will find the full Cyber Security Skills Report and also an infographic with the Key Finding and Recommendations of the Report: