Army struggling to hire cyber staff as attacks on Britain ramp up

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The Army is struggling to hire cyber security experts amid intense competition from business, its recruitment chief has admitted.

Richard Holroyd, managing director of Defence and Security at Capita, which handles recruitment for the Armed Forces, said it was having difficulty attracting candidates given the wealth of jobs on offer.

He told the Telegraph: “You’re saying to people with an interest in it, come and be a cyber specialist in the armed forces, but Raytheon is saying come and be a cyber specialist, BT are saying come and be a cyber specialist. So in those spaces, you’re competing.

“In a labour market with full employment it’s a tough, tough play.”

Mr Holroyd said Capita was on track to only meet 80pc of its Army recruitment target this year, in part because of difficulties filling technical roles.

He said: “Anything related to STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] is a highly competitive environment. So STEM skills are tough.”

Capita’s exact target wasn’t given and the Ministry of Defence declined to comment on it.

The admission comes despite the increasing importance of cyber for both offensive and defensive capabilities.

The Minister of Defence said last month there was an “urgent requirement to continue to modernise the force to keep pace with technological developments”.

Boosting the digital skills is a “matter of priority” over the next three years, officials wrote in the Defence Command paper.

Mr Holroyd said cyber security experts have “much more choice” than in previous years and admitted that private sector companies have proven faster at recruiting, sometimes making offers within a few weeks.

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