Increasingly sophisticated threats and stronger regulations are driving up demand for cyber security professionals.

The majority of companies responding to Hays’ recent Cyber Security Talent survey said they found it ‘difficult’ or ‘very difficult’ to recruit cyber security talent.

‘Insufficient funding’ and a ‘lack of in-house expertise’ were also high on the list of top cyber security challenges for organisations – above bad actors evading existing security measures.

Managing Director at Hays Information Technology, Adam Shapley, said organisations are also struggling to retain staff.

“The need for cyber security professionals is far outpacing the number of qualified candidates and this will only continue to escalate with the increasing sophistication of threats to Australian businesses,” he said.

“In a highly competitive market, organisations must also implement strategies to retain and develop their cyber security talent if they are to effectively overcome the cyber security skills shortage.”

Cybersecurity professionals are among the highest paid workers in Australia.

According to the Hays report, 60 per cent of existing cyber security teams consist of fewer than five people.

The expected trend is for the size of teams to greatly increase.

Tracey Edwards, Head of Technology at NAB, said its cybersecurity team has grown dramatically in the past year.

"We have seen our cybersecurity team of approximately 200 skilled professionals build into an integrated enterprise security function of greater than 360 skilled professionals across a fusion of enterprise security functions."

But with a lack of ready-made experts waiting in the wings, some organisations are adopting alternative methods of finding the right talent.

Peter Frochtenicht, National Manager of Security and Compliance with NEC Australia, said their recruitment strategy includes university partnerships aimed at fostering the next generation of cyber security experts.

“We also upskill our internal staff,” he said.

“For example, taking someone from a service desk role who has the right attitude and aptitude and developing their skills to become cyber and security specialists.

“Programmers are very good analysts and I have found that one of my best engineers came from a programming background.”

As the cost of cybercrime in Australia surges, businesses are finding the benefits of a robust cyber security team outweighs the cost.

Public sector organisations are also struggling to keep up to date, with Australia Post failing a recent cybersecurity audit.

And the banking sector has also come under fire following increased pressure to improve how they manage private information.

New APRA regulations make executives and board members more accountable for data breaches, therefore adding necessity for cybersecurity to grow and strengthen.

During the recent federal election, Scott Morrison announced more than $150 million in funding for developing and maintaining Australian cybersecurity talent.

ACS Australia’s Digital Pulse last year revealed Australia requires 11,000 additional technical cyber security workers over the next decade.