3 Ways to Boost Cyber Talent in a Labor Shortage

Closing talent gaps can elevate security and resilience

Cyber workforce shortfalls are posing tough obstacles amid the rise of remote and hybrid work. Networks have become harder to monitor and control. The need for skilled cybersecurity professionals is urgent—and yet, there remains a dearth of talent to fill available jobs.

According to a recent study, the cybersecurity workforce “needs to grow” by about 41% in the U.S. to keep up with current trends. With this year’s ongoing labor shortages, organizations face acute challenges as they adapt to remote and hybrid work. What’s more, they’re busy addressing risks and opportunities tied to emerging technologies, as well as worsening cyber threats like ransomware. 

Here are three broad ways organizations can navigate these challenges and close the gap between cyber needs and available talent:

1. Rethink job postings and hiring processes. The prevalence of remote work is a game changer for recruiting, widening the pool of potential talent beyond specific geographies. It’s also triggered the need for organizations to update their position criteria and descriptions to emphasize “must-haves” to ensure valuable candidates don’t get “screened out” of the process. The Workforce Framework for Cybersecurity (NICE Framework) can help guide recruiters to include the right skills.

To successfully look beyond candidate resumes, recruiters should utilize skills assessments that aim to predict job performance, while also taking care to ensure that these assessments are free of bias and are properly monitored using scores and metrics. Finally, the process should allow candidates to get to know the organization, the position, and the team, even when working remotely. Managers should therefore be trained in virtual interviewing techniques that enable the immersion of candidates to maximize the chances of retaining new hires over the long term.

2. Keep building capabilities after the hire. Once successful candidates are hired, managers should work to further immerse them in the organization through mentoring programs while continuously tracking their skill development over time. Flexible skills assessment tools can be integrated into performance evaluation processes, individual development plans, workforce training strategies, and learning management systems. The same process for new hires can be extended to entire cyber teams as well, helping to build collective competence. 

3. Cultivate a flexible, inclusive culture. In an era of enhanced competition for talent, it’s more important than ever to make employees feel welcomed and valued as individuals. This is especially crucial when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. But leaders need to move beyond simply increasing diversity in the workforce on paper and instead allow for a true sense of inclusion and belonging, giving all members of the team a voice, and respecting different perspectives. This will become increasingly key as organizations take advantage of remote working to recruit people from all backgrounds and walks of life. And managers who doubt the validity of building an inclusive culture should remember that in a competitive job market, employees who don’t feel they’re being appreciated can go elsewhere.

Though every organization has its unique challenges, these three approaches to hiring and retention will go a long way in making organizations desirable places to work for cyber talent to work—and that’s likely to give leading organizations an edge in security and resilience. 

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