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Shortage of staff in ministries: Every fifth IT security position in the federal government is vacant

Staff shortages in ministries
Every fifth IT security position in the federal government is vacant

Data theft, malware and espionage: Cyber ​​attacks are a serious risk. Experts in IT security are therefore desperately needed. The federal government also has to fill the growing number of vacancies with specialist staff – and is having major problems with this.

The German federal ministries are finding it increasingly difficult to find staff to defend against threats from cyberspace. On average, every fifth position in the area of ​​IT security is currently vacant. This emerges from the response of the federal government to a parliamentary question from the left, which was published in Berlin. This means a deterioration compared to the previous year, when no suitable candidate could be found for every 6th position.

The poor recruitment figures are due, among other things, to the fact that the federal government is trying to increase the number of cyber defense personnel. The number of open IT security positions has been growing continuously since 2020. Last year alone, 332 jobs were added, which corresponds to an increase of nine percent.

Most positions are assigned to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, also because the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) belongs to Nancy Faeser’s ministry. Almost 400 new jobs were created in Faeser’s ministry in 2022, after 58 jobs had been cut the year before. There are a total of 2165 IT security positions here, of which 513 are vacant. This corresponds to almost two thirds of all vacancies in this area in the federal government.

“Some ministries don’t seem to care about IT security at all”

Volker Wissing’s newly tailored Ministry of Digital and Transport also has major problems filling new positions in the field of IT security. Here every second position in the field of cyber security is vacant, also because many new permanent positions have been created here. However, Karl Lauterbach’s Ministry of Health has the worst percentage. Here 80 percent of all vacancies in the field of IT security could not be filled. However, the absolute numbers are very small: only 2.5 positions are occupied by IT security experts, 8.8 positions are vacant.

Left MP Anke Domscheit-Berg said there was no recognizable overarching and sustainable strategy for IT security in the federal government. “Some ministries just don’t seem to care about IT security,” she criticized, looking at the figures from the Ministry of Health. Some institutions, such as the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, act completely unaffected by cyber war or the threat of ransomware and have had the same, small number of IT security offices for years. “I am very concerned that these weaknesses will be successfully exploited by malicious third parties and I call on the federal government to finally remedy these structural grievances,” said the digital policy spokeswoman for the left-wing faction.

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