Expansion by PwC could see new tech jobs at Belfast HQ
Dozens of jobs could be on the cards for Belfast as professional services firm PwC is set to add 1,000 new top tech posts across the UK over the next four years.
PwC is hiring more than 1,000 new tech specialists to address growing cybersecurity concerns among its clients following a number of high-profile hacks on UK businesses.
The auditing and consultancy giant said the new hires will be placed on to its UK Risk Assurance team by 2020 to cover all industry sectors across the country.
And while PwC would not reveal a breakdown of where the new jobs are being created, its Belfast operation is the fastest growing region in the UK.
It now has close to 1,400 staff here, with much of the latest growth down to cyber and digital technology.
New recruits will tackle cybersecurity and privacy threats, as well as data management, business systems and IT risks.
Over 600 jobs will be filled by external hires, while over 400 will be transferred from other PwC sites.
The firm will also be recruiting at least 200 data and tech graduates.
"Business models that have served clients well for decades are being disrupted or destroyed due to the speed of digital disruption, the increase of regulatory scrutiny on technology risks, and the escalation of cyber threat, requiring us to respond and build a strong team of specialists," said Hemione Hudson, PwC's UK head of assurance.
The move follows a number of high profile hackings at British companies over the past year.
Thousands of customers' bank account and contact details were accessed after a cyber attack at TalkTalk, the telecoms firm announced in October.
Banking giant HSBC was later hit by a denial of service attack that temporarily shut down its online banking service back in February.
Software accounting firm Sage said earlier this month that the employee details for about 280 companies were accessed by an unauthorised user via an internal login.
Marc Bena, a risk assurance partner at PwC, said: "Our clients and their customers want to know that their technology is innovative and pushing boundaries whilst being safe and delivering what is expected.
"We have a duty to continue to build a team of technology experts able to help our clients do business with confidence."
In June, PwC announced a tie-in between its Northern Ireland 'emerging and digital technologies' and the Bank of England.
PwC in Northern Ireland provided technical expertise and support to the Bank's own technology specialists on the blockchain, which is a public record of all bitcoin transactions.
And earlier this year the company also announced it had hired 15 new staff to begin developing technology to help commercialise the rise of the cryptocurrency bitcoin.