Professor sounds alarm over Dutch cyber security brain drain

Intelligence agencies are bracing themselves for Brexit hacks.

The Netherlands is facing a critical shortage of cyber security specialists,’ Leiden university professor Bibi van den Berg told the Financieele Dagblad on Monday.

Van den Berg, who is a member of the government’s Cyber Securty Board, said increasing numbers of students are being trained in cyber security but that many go abroad when they graduate.

‘In Delft there are currently 1,000 students enrolled to become specialists in the field, up from 400 and the number at Leiden has increased to 300 from 150,’ she said.

‘The problem is that a great many graduates get jobs outside the Netherlands as soon as they graduate. In Germany, for example, graduates get a generous research budget and research group without any question.’

Last Friday, justice minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus who has security in his portfolio, hiked annual spending on cyber security to €95m. Van den Berg says neighbouring countries spend far more.

Dutch security specialist graduates often head for the US where they experienced specialists earn $300,000 a year instead of €100,000 in the Netherlands. The result is a brain drain, she says.

The  CSR was set up in 2011 and advises the cabinet on security-related matters. It is aiming ultimately to set up a digital cyber security institute.

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