Cybersecurity is facing a massive talent crunch. Experts explain how diversity, strong workplace cultures, and better internships can fix it.
Cyberattacks are becoming more common, so companies are asking for help.
It is a challenge of supply and demand. The industry does not have enough skilled talent to fill jobs.
Two experts told Insider what companies and educational institutions can do to close the gap.
The talk was part of Insider’s virtual event “Cybersecurity Trends: Get Ready for a Safer Future,” presented by Cisco on Thursday, May 12, 2022.
Click here to see a recording of the full event.
It is the dream of a cybercriminal come true: companies are struggling to train and recruit skilled talent to combat the growing frequency of attacks.
But the solution is not as simple as creating more pathways to the industry.
Instead, higher education institutions will have to prepare workers with skills directly applicable to open roles, according to Eman El-Sheikh, associate vice president of the University of West Florida’s Cybersecurity Center, who spoke Thursday at the cybersecurity panel called “Cybersecurity Trends: Get Ready for a Safer Future,” presented by Cisco. At the same time, companies need to invest in career development, competitive pay and the business climate to recruit and retain this talent, said Fran Rosch, CEO of cybersecurity firm ForgeRock.
“We have a supply and demand challenge,” Rosch said. In other words, there are simply not enough cybersecurity professionals to meet business needs.
In terms of supply, companies need access to experts trained in cyber law, behavior analysis, and managers trained to take on the evolving nature of cyberattacks, according to El-Sheikh. This means focusing on the key skills and certifications that companies are looking for to better prepare graduates.
“We really need, from an education perspective, to see how we develop and deliver multidisciplinary programs to address the needs of expanding labor,” El-Sheikh said.
But this preparation extends beyond the classroom. Bridging the gap between educational programs and recruitment requires internships and learning that provide students with pathways to a cybersecurity career, El-Sheikh said.
For example, through a six-month free training program at the University of West Florida, 1,700 military veterans will be trained to perform critical cyber functions over the next two years, according to El-Sheikh. It is funded by a grant from the National Security Agency.
Training, however, is only half the battle. Hiring and retaining newly trained workers has proven to be just as difficult.
“We don’t think of it as a recruitment challenge,” Rosch said. “We think it’s a more holistic talent challenge.”
According to Rosch, companies need to invest in the things that employees want, such as being driven by the mission or emphasizing how the role of an employee can contribute to a safer society.
But career development and lucrative competitive salaries are also key to attracting and retaining talent, Rosch said. During the pandemic a need arose for flexibility as the balance of power shifted from employer to employee.
Employees also want companies to hire a diverse workforce and create a more inclusive workspace, Rosch said. In addition, according to Rosch, finding new employees in various talent portfolios can also be a solution to the talent shortage.
“We’re starting to look beyond our normal path and that has helped us hire, develop and retain our talent,” Rosch said.
Read the original article in Business Insider