Aberdeen Cyber Security Firm Cashing in on Boom Times for Scottish Tech Sector

Article by Press & Journal

Technology entrepreneur Thomas McCarthy expects to recruit another three people at his Aberdeen firm this year and more in 2024 amid growing demand for its expertise.

His company, OSP Cyber Academy, is in expansion mode on the back of two projects in Bahrain.

Mr McCarthy, 61, is eyeing more new business opportunities across the Middle East.

“These are very exciting times if you work in the digital arena, especially within the cyber security sector.”

Thomas McCarthy, managing director OSP Cyber Academy.

OSP specialises in cyber security and data protection training.

Its bullish outlook reflects generally good times for information technology businesses throughout Scotland.

New survey findings from trade body ScotlandIS reveal a steadying financial position, an increasingly international outlook and plans for a major jobs drive across the sector.

‘Exciting times’

Mr McCarthy, who launched OSP Cyber Academy six years ago, said: “These are very exciting times if you work in the digital arena, especially within the cyber security sector.

“Last December OSP was invited to join a delegation of Scottish companies visiting and exhibiting at the Arab International Cyber Summit in Bahrain.

“Over the duration of the three-day event OSP was inundated with inquiries at all levels.”

OSP was also represented at the GISEC Cyber Summit, hosted by the United Arab Emirates Cyber Security Council, in Dubai.

Mr McCarthy added “There are huge opportunities for Scottish companies with expertise to provide in many of the Middle East countries we have visited.

“Such is the demand for expertise, OSP and Robert Gordon University (RGU) are hosting an International Cyber Security Summit at RGU in August this year

“This is an exciting time in our growth plan and one we are making every effort to deliver on.”

Recruitment drive

Reporting its latest Scottish Technology Industry Survey findings, ScotlandIS said the sector is poised for a major recruitment drive as increased exports fuel growing sales.

In the coming year, more than four-fifths (83%) of companies surveyed expect to increase their headcounts – up seven percentage points on last year (76%).

None anticipate cutting jobs, while nearly two in three (63%) of the new jobs created are expected to be sourced in Scotland.

The technology sector already employs more than 80,000 people in Scotland, and 15,600 new digital technology jobs are created annually.

Overall, UK tech job vacancies increased by 30% last year, compared to 2021, reaching 77,000 in February.

One of the factors driving the jobs boost is demand for services internationally.

The ScotlandIS survey found the number of technology companies planning to or already exporting is at its highest level (87%) since the Covid-19 pandemic. This reverses a decline in exports from last year.

North America and Europe remain the top two export markets for Scottish tech businesses outside of the rest of the UK.

Skills shortage warning

But ScotlandIS chief executive Karen Meechan warned: “The skills shortage has long been a challenge for the Scottish tech sector and is now mission critical.

“If we cannot fill vacancies and source talented people, the potential for growth will be stymied.

“The Scottish economy can ill afford to let growth and opportunity slip through its hands, when so many other sectors are struggling.”

Ms Meechan added: “A very positive outcome from this year’s survey is the way in which our tech sector has stabilised.

“Huge change was needed to cope with the ebbs and flows of the pandemic era, and that has now settled into more predictable and sustainable growth.

“Not only are more companies recording seven-figure turnovers, but more and more are also seeking to export their services outside of Scotland.

“The tech sector needs to export to grow so this is an encouraging sign for the future.”