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Identifying, hiring, and developing a cyber workforce equipped to handle new and evolving threats is an ever-present challenge. Cyber skills assessment solutions that streamline pre-hire selection and post-hire training of qualified cyber professionals is one cost-effective approach to gaining an edge in the fight for elite cyber talent.
Organizational demand for capable cyber personnel continues to far outstrip supply. The 2020 (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study found a global cybersecurity workforce shortage of close to 3.9 million workers, with North America showing the highest shortage of any region—approximately 359,000. In a rapidly evolving cyber threat environment, filling this critical skill gap quickly and efficiently is essential.
Cyber skills assessment is a proven, pre-hire method of quickly identifying candidates with the right skills to excel in specific positions. One of the most oft-cited talent-management hurdles is an inability to effectively discover a candidate’s level of depth in relevant technical skills during the selection process. Skills-based assessments require individuals to demonstrate their ability to perform particular tasks just as they would on the job. In our work implementing cyber skills assessments for a wide range of businesses and federal agencies, we’ve identified some key takeaways for organizations seeking to shore up their talent needs:
Skills assessment tools can also be leveraged by organizations post-hire. Administering skills-based development assessments to existing workforces can provide relevant performance metrics and challenging training that meet the specific requirements of any organization. As cyber threats change and grow, flexible assessment tools can easily be updated for emerging workforce knowledge needs. Other benefits include:
Lastly, it’s important to note that the design and implementation of effective assessment tools alone is not sufficient. The human resource professionals and cyber leaders using the assessments must fully understand how to properly administer them, how to appropriately grade them, and how to monitor and safeguard against unintentional adverse impact. Complementary expertise in designing and administering assessment programs for selection and training goes a long way toward effectively and legally achieving a broad range of talent advantages.
An Innovative Way to Overcome the Cyber Talent Gap
Cyber skills assessment offers a constructive approach for organizations confronted with the challenges of identifying technically capable candidates and maintaining the knowledge of their cyber workforce in real time. Assessment tools are not a cure-all for these very common cyber talent challenges, but when implemented thoughtfully, they help to manage them.
Booz Allen and our clients confront the challenge of the cyber labor shortage every day. We empathize with the cyber talent challenges facing public organizations because we’ve faced them ourselves and learned to overcome them through innovative talent practices and proven operational strategies.
For more information regarding your cyber workforce strategy, contact us.
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