Data breaches regularly make headlines, and every time a company discovers a weak point in its network, executives scramble to hire people who can find out what went wrong — and fix it.
However, that task isn’t as easy as you might think. The fact is, there aren’t enough cybersecurity experts to fill all the open positions, and that issue is worrisome for organizational leaders.
The Skills Shortage Goes Beyond the United States
You might have seen a few articles about a lack of cybersecurity skills from the U.S. workforce populating your feeds lately, but there’s something that might surprise you — other countries have this problem, too.
The demand for cybersecurity personnel is greatest in Israel and Ireland, followed by the United Kingdom and then the United States. Israel’s first-place ranking likely occurred because, although it’s a small country, it also has a reputation as a technology hub.
Interest From Jobseekers Is Low
There’s another problem causing company leaders to lose sleep, and it’s that candidates in the job market don’t even click on the advertisements for open positions. To put things into perspective, consider that the United States and Canada are the only two countries where the interest from prospective employees exceeds the needs employers have.
People Are Not Aware of the Pressing Need for Cybersecurity Skills
Even though employers are increasingly prioritizing hiring people with cybersecurity know-how, young people aren’t as concerned about internet-based security overall.
A 2015 international survey from Zogby Analytics polled almost 4,000 people from younger generations. Surprisingly, 67 percent of the respondents said they hadn’t heard of any cybersecurity attacks occurring within the last year. They gave that answer at a time when several notable breaches were in the news.
Also, although the participants generally were open to the idea of having cybersecurity jobs, they often thought they weren’t cut out for it. Perhaps that’s because the majority of people taking the survey said their educational guidance counselors had never suggested cybersecurity as a potential field of study or a career path.
The Lack of Cybersecurity Expertise Puts Companies at Risk
Company leaders know that the difficulty in filling necessary IT positions is a problem that makes their organizations more vulnerable to cyber attacks. In a separate study that polled people from eight countries, 71 percent of respondents said the skills shortage translated to direct and measurable damage to their businesses.
There is also evidence that the lack of cybersecurity talent, combined with the highly specialized training a person needs to succeed as an expert in the field, has caused IT budgets to climb. However, some organizations have turned to providers that offer managed services, realizing they are more cost-effective than some other alternatives.
Strategies for Solving the Problem
Although analysts agree the lack of cybersecurity talent is a pressing matter — especially as the number of job openings goes up — they also note it’s not a problem without a solution. When asked about solving the problem, some professionals suggest companies looking to hire cybersecurity experts should explore giving these workers flexible terms or even turn to the gig economy and seek people on a temporary, as needed basis. Depending on your company and its needs, you may not require full-time assistance at this time
In that scenario, it’s always possible that a person initially hired for a brief time could end up working out so well that he or she gets offered a permanent position. People have also weighed in to say that those who want to recruit cybersecurity specialists must provide lucrative compensation packages. Hiring someone on a freelance or similar basis could be more feasible for your budget.
Because it seems that colleges and universities are not training students fast enough to meet demands — and the necessary education does not happen instantaneously — you may also want to look for people with military experience. Many of those people may already have some of the skills you seek, but they often go unnoticed because they tend to like working for companies with military connections.
The fact that cybersecurity talent is in such limited supply is worrisome. Fortunately, with a blend of creativity, dedication and understanding of the state of the industry, it’s easier to find the employees you need to stay safeguarded against attacks in the online world.
Image by Startup Stock Photos
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