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More than half of British firms would consider hiring computer hackers in the face of a severe skills shortage – and more than 50% of executives said that they would consider hiring an expert even if they had a criminal record, according to Computer Weekly.
The poll was conducted by professional services firm KPMG and found that hiring managers were facing stark choices when it came to skilled IT staff – and thus considering the risky choice of hiring former hackers.
The poll of 300 senior IT and human resources professionals found that IT in particular faced a fast turnover of skilled staff, and those that there were are being aggressively headhunted.
KPMG says 57%of businesses are finding it more difficult to retain specialized staff in cyber skills
The willingness to take such drastic steps also reflects a fast changing market.
Of those polled, 70% felt that their organization ‘lacks data protection and privacy expertise’ – crucial in the wake of high-profile breaches such as the Target breach, which have caused serious reputational damage to the businesses concerned.
74% of the professionals polled also said that there was an increasing need for new IT skills in the face of new cyber challenges.
Serena Gonsalves-Fersch, head of KPMG’s Cyber Security Academy, says: “The increasing awareness of the cyber threat means the majority of UK companies are clear on their strategy for dealing with any skills gaps.”
“However, they wouldn’t hire pickpockets to be security guards, so the fact that companies are considering former hackers as recruits clearly shows how desperate they are to stay ahead of the game.”
The poll was released to coincide with a KPMG cyber security awareness programme for businesses.
Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security