Skip to Content


UK cyber security sector worth £8.3 billion, research by Queen’s University Belfast reveals

The UK’s cyber security industry is now worth an estimated £8.3 billion, with total revenues in the sector up 46 per cent since 2017, research from Queen’s University Belfast has revealed.

The  UK Cyber Security Sectoral Analysis 2020, published today by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, is based on research by the University’s Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT), in collaboration with Belfast-based economic and policy advisory practice Perspective Economics and global leading market research company Ipsos MORI.

Commenting on the findings, CSIT’s Head of Strategic Partnerships and Engagement, David Crozier said: “This research clearly shows that support for cyber security innovation from the Government is having a positive impact in accelerating growth, employment and investment in the sector right across the UK. As the UK’s Innovation and Knowledge Centre for cyber security, CSIT has been a key part of that success over the past decade.”

The sector has seen significant growth in annual revenue and employment, as well as considerable investment in early-stage companies. The findings from the report show:

  • The number of active cyber security firms in the UK has increased 44 per cent - up from 846 in 2017 to over 1,200 at year-end 2019. This growth is the equivalent to a new cyber security business being set up in the UK every week
  • There are now approximately 43,000 full time employees working in the cyber security sector, up 37 per cent from 2017
  • Total revenues within the sector have increased by 46 per cent to an estimated £8.3 billion. On average, revenue per employee reached £193,500 - an increase of seven per cent since 2017
  • 2019 was a record year for the sector with more than £348 million of investment
  • Over the last four years (2016-19), total investment identified within the cyber security sector has exceeded £1.1 billion, demonstrating how confidence has grown in the industry.

Belfast-based B-Secur, which commercialises the application of patented ECG algorithms for a range of uses, was one firm that secured significant investment during the period. The company, which currently employs 35 staff, has raised $13m to date and has collaborated on a range of research and development projects with CSIT since 2015.

Crozier adds: “The report highlights how Government backed initiatives such as HutZero, Cyber101 and the London Office for Rapid Cyber Security Investment (LORCA) have played a key role in helping UK cyber security start-ups and SMEs develop new products and services, as well as improving their ability to raise investment and commercial performance. CSIT is a delivery partner on all three programmes.”

Ahead of his speech at international cyber security conference SINET, Digital Minister Matt Warman said: “It’s great to see our cyber security sector going from strength to strength. It plays a vital role in protecting the country’s thriving digital economy and keeping people safe online.

“We are committed to seeing it grow and are investing £1.9 billion over five years through our National Cyber Security Strategy to make sure we lead the way in cyber innovation, develop and attract the best talent.”

Alongside GDPR industry adoption, this growth has been driven by a number of factors such as the UK’s world-leading technology sector, pro-innovation regulation, research and business-friendly environment.

Perspective Economics Director Sam Donaldson said: "This has been a highly unique and interesting research project for our team. It has been brilliant to track the UK's world-leading cyber security sector, and to witness such growth, innovation and potential across the country. We're looking forward to seeing the sector go from strength to strength in the years ahead."

The UK Cyber Security Sectoral Analysis 2020 can be found here.

David Crozier
CSIT, Centre for Secure Information Technologies
View Profile

Media inquiries to Emma Gallagher at Queen’s University Communications Office T; +44 (0)28 9097 3087 E;