Almost a third of the 235 graduates joining BAE Systems next year will be hired to work in the firm's cyber security arm as digital threats to government and businesses soar.
The blue-chip defence giant said the new emphasis in its graduate programme was prompted by an online survey it conducted with business heads, in which found 57 per cent said they had experienced a cyber-attack in the last year, despite believing the appropriate security controls were in place.
MP and minister for the Cabinet Office, Ben Gummer, said:
Cyber attacks are a reality and they are happening every day. The first duty of the government is to keep the nation safe.
Any modern state cannot remain secure and prosperous without securing itself in cyberspace. So it is hugely encouraging to see such a drive on securing the skills and talent we will need to continue this fight in the future.
The 80 recruits will be funnelled off to BAE's applied intelligence business based at sites in London, Guildford and Leeds.
Other graduates entering BAE's programme will go to its maritime business, head office, electronic systems branch, military air and information, and land systems businesses.
The announcement coincided with the news that more than 1bn Yahoo user accounts have been hacked in the largest cyber attack in history.
The breach is the second mammoth attack on Yahoo uncovered this year and has affected more than double the number of accounts compared with a breach revealed in September – which the firm said was “distinct” from the latest intrusion.
Code-breaking hub Bletchley Park will become a digital defence school in the next couple of years, taking its first cohort of pre-university students in 2018, in a bid to help plug the skills gap for the growing threat.