It’s tempting to think of cybersecurity in terms of new and improved technology that will eliminate threats and provide all the protection a company requires. While having the right applications, tools, and systems is critical, most organizations struggle with maintaining a security framework.
According to the (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, 2021, the global cyber-skills shortage is now estimated to be around 2.7 million. Furthermore, the situation is worsening.
This talent shortage has significant repercussions. It makes it more difficult to successfully use tools and technology, but it also overburdens existing workforce and creates security vulnerabilities that heighten risks. However, attracting cybersecurity talent is becoming increasingly difficult. It often appears as if individuals with the appropriate background and qualifications do not exist.
What’s the bottom line? Security leaders must take a more holistic approach to staffing. It is no longer sufficient to rely solely on individuals with degrees, qualifications, and prior experience. The universe of applicants grows enormously by broadening the labor pool to include individuals who are self-taught or have an aptitude for cybersecurity—and training them for specialized roles
It’s all too easy to fall back on the usual suspects when it comes to attracting talent. This could entail posting job openings on social media as well as conventional job sites. Using computer tools to scan résumés and search for people by searching on keywords, or publishing job openings on a company’s website.
Thinking more broadly is a good place to start when looking for cybersecurity talent. College job fairs, hackathons, gaming conventions, and other events, for example, can be useful resources. At industry events, a booth or even a casual presence can pay off big time. Sponsorships programs or participating in learning partnerships at colleges and technical institutes may also be viable, allowing companies to engage with professors and students.
However, it’s also necessary to reconsider how a business approaches hiring. Unfortunately, many businesses are completely out of touch with the market. For example, “entry level” job listings on LinkedIn are widespread, requiring many credentials and several years of expertise. The notion that this type of background is required for an entry-level post is unrealistic and detrimental.
In fact, human resources departments and security leaders frequently sabotage recruitment efforts by creating job posts that are either too specific or too broad. Onerous or ambiguous requirements, predictably, intimidate and deter qualified candidates. Buzzwords just add to the confusion, especially when algorithms are performing the majority of the initial screening.
Technical certifications and a formal computer science education are not required for many jobs in the field. With minimal training, it’s often easy to swiftly get a bright and driven person up to speed. In other words, what matters is the underlying mindset and qualities. A good cybersecurity professional must have the skills and willingness to solve puzzles. Working with others is also important. Candidates with little practical experience but are determined to learn will perform well with the right training, and mentoring.
What’s the bottom line? Rather than pressing applicants to meet the company’s excessive standards, it’s better to bend a little to accommodate the candidate. At the end of the day, everyone wins.
Risks and Benefits
Attracting talent is, of course, only one half of the equation. There’s also the issue of retaining expertise while avoiding poaching by rival companies. While pay is an important aspect in every job, it’s also important to look beyond the thinking that money is the most important factor in winning the talent wars.
Successful organizations, on the other hand, strive for an engaged culture and work hard to create a framework where people can fully trust one another. This entails offering meaningful employment and opportunity for advancement within the company and in the field. Many younger workers, millennials, enjoy in workplaces where they can learn, progress, and have fun.
Yes, even while it’s serious and at times demanding work, cybersecurity can be a lot of fun and intriguing. Cyber-skill-building and development systems that simulate real-world situations and allow employees to test and enhance their talents in realistic circumstances are also available.
When companies embrace a larger but more targeted framework for cybersecurity workforce, they suddenly find themselves in a position to gain a significant competitive edge in the labor market. They can attract new candidates organically rather than continuously hunting for talent.
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