Editorial

Cybersecurity a catalyst for future economic growth

LORCA’s Saj Huq says displacement could lead to opportunity for booming cybersecurity sector

Posted 24 August 2020 by

Cybersecurity could an important role to play in the UK’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery.

Saj Huq, programme director at LORCA, the London Office for Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement, says as a growing industry, cybersecurity could “be a catalyst” for be providing new jobs moving forward.

“This is a growing space, and it’s a growing area of need. Despite the headwinds, there is more money coming into the sector and people and businesses do continue to make progress,” Huq tells Think Digital Partners.

“As a technology domain, it’s got a really important role to play going forward as part of the wider UK economic recovery.”

Cyber start-ups attracted record levels of investment in the UK in 2019, breaking half a billion pounds (£521m).

“If I were a CEO of a start-up right now, I would be looking at that sector and I’d be quite excited about some of the talent I can access. There are individuals that have been displaced from jobs, and therefore, as a fast growing business you’ll have an opportunity to engage [with candidates] whom you may never have had the opportunity before, because they may have gone to a much bigger company or industry incumbents. So, you’ll see this kind of displacement lead to opportunity.”

Huq explains that LORCA has companies on its cohorts who are specifically working in skills and talent and trying to use technology to act as a catalyst for both re-skilling and bringing in new people into the sector.

“A lot of the interventions that have been put in place to try and attract people into cybersecurity specifically has been focused on the earliest stages – so attracting new school leavers and university leavers.” he says.

“But we have a latent talent pool at the other end of the spectrum, people who are later career changers who may have a lot of value to add in this space, and a lot of experience so they would be very relevant. But then also, this wider economic displacement that’s happened means there is an opportunity for re-skilling…and that’s where novel applications of technology and business models might be able to kind of catalyse that to bring more people into the sector as a whole.”

Saj Huq, programme director at LORCA

Huq also notes that cybersecurity start-ups and scaleups aren’t encumbered by the legacy of old ways, whether that’s technology or culture.

“From a diversity standpoint, they really can cause material progress because they’re not encumbered by some of some pains of the past. That’s what I’m excited about when we’re talking to our companies, about how they can move that needle forward,” he says.