'There's nowhere to live' - Housing crisis stalling cybersecurity jobs boost for Ireland

Escalating cyber threats could mean a job bonanza for Ireland - if we build enough houses for tech workers to live in.

'There's nowhere to live' - Housing crisis stalling cybersecurity jobs boost for Ireland

Escalating cyber threats could mean a job bonanza for Ireland - if we build enough houses for tech workers to live in.

"The housing crisis is seriously affecting our ability to scale," said Ronan Murphy, Cork-born CEO of multinational cybersecurity firm SmartTech247.

"We're building our own very sophisticated AI and machine learning which we will distribute globally. It's pretty cool that we're doing it from Cork.

"But there's nowhere to live," Mr Murphy said after Cork's first major cybersecurity conference, Futuresec.

"The sector is screaming out for more housing. Cork is a lovely place but when there's nowhere to live it drives up the cost of everything and you lose your competitive advantage."

Cyber threats are projected to cost the global economy $6trillion by 2020, said Mr Murphy.

And rapid advances in technology are changing the way we live and do business.

"Anything that can change the world can, by definition, change it for the worse or the better," he said.

"There are two million job vacancies in the sector and the lack of skilled professionals is a major challenge."

Staffing shortages were also mentioned by other industry experts speaking at FutureSec conference yesterday.

IBM vice president Koos Lodewijkx said that cybersecurity is very much a growth industry.

The company has offices in Cork, Dublin and Galway but finding enough talent to expand has been a problem.

"It is a challenging time and staffing is still in short supply. We would like to expand but it's hard to find employees," he said.

"I would advise doubling down on cybersecurity and IT - promoting the fields in education and promoting the idea that Ireland is the place to go for talent and cybersecurity," Mr Lodewijkx added.

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