Combatting Talent Shortages in the Booming Cybersecurity Market

Cyber attacks are on the rise and cybersecurity talent is in short supply, leaving many companies in need. A new report from TriSearch discusses what’s behind the lack of cybersecurity talent and suggests how you should respond.

November 22, 2022 – Globally, there is a severe talent shortage in the cybersecurity job market. The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently reported a shortage of 3 million cybersecurity professionals around the globe. Furthermore, Cybersecurity Magazine, recently revealed that there will be 3.5 million open positions in cybersecurity by 2025 due to the global workforce shortage. The lack of cybersecurity experts has left many businesses in a tight spot, according to new report from TriSearch’s Travis Thomas. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) says that companies now see cybersecurity as a mission-critical task, so the demand for cybersecurity professionals is growing faster.

In the wake of the digital transformation, cyber attacks have become more prevalent. “Consequently, there is a high demand for cybersecurity professionals in the job market due to a lack of qualified individuals to manage and secure the online world,” said Mr. Thomas. “An acute shortage of cybersecurity workers in the United States is hurting organizations irrespective of their size.”  According to a recent IBM report, cyber security job postings currently account for 13 percent of all IT jobs.

What are the causes of the cybersecurity workforce shortage? Mr. Thomas says that it is difficult to attract and retain qualified cybersecurity professionals without the help of an external search firm specializing in the network security and cybersecurity market. He also offers up some of the main causes for the shortage:

  • An overloaded workforce and absence of on-the-job training.
  • Once hired, cybersecurity professionals must frequently deal with massive workloads, which increases the risk of stress and increases the likelihood of your best performers leaving your organization.
  • Hiring managers have unrealistic expectations because candidates’ soft skills are not considered during the interview process.
  • Lack of diversity.

“The lack of cybersecurity professionals has led to various issues, such as an increase in malicious breaches and the theft of personal and financial information.,” said Mr. Thomas.. “The nation’s digital and cyberinfrastructure, including its economic, utility, and transportation networks, is under threat, and the situation appears to worsen by the day. Cloud security, application security, and security assessment/investigations are the top three technological domains most impacted by a cybersecurity skills shortage. When there aren’t enough people with these skills, employers must pay more for them.”

Source: Tech Target

Everyone Is at Risk from Cybercrime

From high-profile multinational corporations, SMEs, to start-ups, and government agencies, no one is immune to cybercrime threats. According to IBM, SMEs are hit by 62 percent of all cyber attacks, about 4,000 per day. Cybercrime in a Pandemic World: The Impact of COVID-19 Findings, a report released in 2021 by McAfee Enterprise and FireEye, emphasized the urgent need for enterprises to prioritize and upgrade their cybersecurity infrastructure. On average, cybersecurity jobs are currently more lucrative than others in IT. According to the statistics, 81 percent of enterprises saw elevated cyber attacks during the pandemic. In May 2020, the chief of UN Disarmament said that even though the COVID-19 pandemic has led to more technological innovation and online collaboration, it has also led to more cybercrime. During the current crisis, the number of malware emails has gone up by 600 percent.

Source: Palo Alto Exam

“Furthermore, small businesses are an easy target for cybercriminals,” Mr. Thomas said. “They steal data in order to hijack bank accounts, submit false tax returns, and even obtain customers’ personal identification information to perpetrate health insurance fraud.”

The Demand for Seasoned Cybersecurity Professionals is Surging Substantially

As technology becomes more digitally connected, the need for cybersecurity specialists will increase in the coming years, according to Mr. Thomas. “Security threats will grow in parallel with the Internet of Things and cloud computing,” he said. “As a result, the demand for expertise to tackle these issues will also surge. Managing cybersecurity is important, and employers need to look for people with experience and a good track record.”

The Best Solution to Tackle the Issue of the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

Mr. Thomas notes that the best way to tackle the skills shortage problem is to hire cybersecurity professionals you cannot afford. “Regardless of how crazy it sounds, hiring even one seasoned cybersecurity professional instead of five average cybersecurity professionals can make a big difference,” he said. “A beginner will not provide the same level of quality work as a seasoned cybersecurity professional.

Hiring seasoned cybersecurity professionals is not as expensive as you might assume. You need to find the right candidate.”

Travis Thomas ,VP, U.S. technology practice at TriSearch, has spent two decades unlocking hidden value for his clients at the intersection of talent, leadership, culture, strategy, and innovation. He is an experienced strategic leader and active listener with experience working in executive search, professional services, account management, and knowledge management. 

“To encourage seasoned cybersecurity professionals, you can provide them with enticing benefits such as competitive compensation packages, free lunches, healthcare coverage, flexibility, bonuses, and even stock options,” Mr. Thomas said. “It would be best if you made them aware of what you could offer now and in the future. Only lucrative opportunities can help retain good employees and make them loyal and committed to their employer. Simultaneously, you must take steps to limit burnout by reducing the burden of cybersecurity teams so that the staff does not feel intimidated by dealing with various challenges.”

Related: Retaining Your Employees During the Great Resignation

The longer an employee continues working with the company, the less it costs in terms of recruitment, replacements, and training. Consequently, this helps employers save a lot of money in the long run. Mr. Thomas offers a few reasons why hiring an expert you think you probably couldn’t afford in the competitive cybersecurity market makes sense:

  • Enhanced Productivity: Hiring an industry veteran raises the bar for everyone in your firm. As a result, the productivity of all employees in your firm shoots up.
  • More Expertise: A seasoned cybersecurity professional has years of knowledge and experience. They bring more value to your company rather than focusing solely on their income or pay check.
  • Unmatched Potential: Experienced professionals are highly talented and sought after. They can progress through the ranks with adequate training or take on more challenging roles. In contrast to typical employees, they are not placeholders, waiting for something better to come along. High performers see their company as an investment in themselves, which drives them to stay, work diligently, be committed, and climb through the ranks.
  • Reduced HR Expenses: You can get by with fewer workers if you recruit experienced, intelligent, driven, and talented cybersecurity specialists. As a result, you can save on assorted costs, including healthcare, training, benefits, software licenses, parking, payroll processing, and other aspects that make recruiting expensive. Lowering HR costs means that you can attract and keep the best employees because you don’t need a lot of average workers, just a few who are smart and skilled and can add value to your business.

These solutions can help organizations attract competent security personnel and confidently address their cybersecurity demands, according to Mr. Thomas. “As more people enter the cybersecurity industry with suitable degrees and reduce the existing gap, the talent shortage will not last forever,” he said. “Until then, businesses must implement strategies to mitigate the impact of the ongoing skills shortage by building a happy and content cybersecurity staff of seasoned individuals. If you choose the wrong candidate, you will end up exposing your company to more cyber threats and having to start back at the drawing board to search for the right talent. If you hire the right talent, you will be well-positioned to fend off attacks, safeguard your organization, and outperform your competitors in all business aspects.”

Mr. Thomas also notes that choosing the right candidate implies that you have made a substantial investment that is likely to pay off in the long run. “Again, once you are used to employing the best, you will soon learn to identify top-notch talents,” Mr. Thomas said. “Last but not least, well versed and brighter professionals will not only benefit your organization; they will also challenge you to be a better version of yourself with their enthusiasm, ideas, and commitment. Hire the professionals you think you can’t afford, and you will soon realize how valuable and affordable they prove to your company in the long run.”

Related: Hiring Top Talent in Unprecedented Times

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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