Cyber Attacks are emerging as a serious problem in our digital world. We've seen dozens of huge attacks recently, on companies all the way from Wetherspoons, to the NHS. Yet, despite this rising concern, the UK is facing a significant skills shortage when it comes to cybersecurity professionals.
According to recent studies, employer demand exceeds candidate interest in the cyber safety space by more than three times. What's more, the Centre for Cyber Education estimates that the skills gap will be as wide as 1.8 million by 2020.
Today's businesses are recognising the need for better cybersecurity, but young people are still failing to take up the necessary "STEM" skills to satisfy employers. On top of this, when leaders do find the talent they need, they're struggling to attract and retain it.
So, how do today's IT organisations address the cybersecurity skill shortage?
1. Transform the Recruitment Process
Pulling the right people into your team starts from the moment you begin writing your job descriptions. If your current strategy for recruitment isn't delivering results, then it's time to work with a specialist agency on something new.
To make security roles more attractive, some organisations have embraced the concept of recruitment "gamification". For instance, the GCHQ codebreaking masterclass allows candidates of every age and gender to get experimental with their IT skills. This opens the door to broader talent pools for hiring managers and increases your chances of a more diverse applicant selection.
2. Offer Diverse Opportunities
In a world where STEM skills for cybersecurity are limited, brands may need to look at younger employees to fill the gaps within their teams. A great way to attract younger people to the industry is to offer them the chance for flexible learning through apprenticeships.
These tried-and-test solutions give people a chance to learn the qualifications they need on-the-go, while they're earning experience in the industry.
At the same time, while you're looking for people you can welcome into your business, remember to go beyond students interested in cybersecurity. For instance, people pursuing account degrees might be able to offer a unique insight into the things driving cyber fraud. Anyone with a passion for technology can thrive in a digitally-focused position.
3. Implement More Flexibility
Today, professionals from every sector, including the technology industry, are looking for more "flexible" opportunities in their career. Work/life balance is a concept that's grown increasingly important in today's world and offering your team a chance to complete their tasks on a remote worker basis could be a great way to deliver the flexibility today's candidates are looking for.
Companies that provide even part-time flexible working open the door to applicants who might be otherwise unable to consider a cyber security role. For instance, your telecommuting perk could help you to attract individuals from different towns or countries, as well as employees who might be unable to follow a traditional 9-to-5 schedule because of personal commitments, illnesses, or other complications.
Since many cybersecurity tasks can be completed from anywhere using the right technology, it's the perfect solution for organisations who want to widen their candidate pool.
4. Provide Opportunities for Continuous Growth
The more new technology appears in the marketplace, the more cybercriminals discover new ways to hack the system. Constant opportunities for education and training will ensure that the experts you bring onto your team are always prepared to protect and enhance your company's IT network.
If you're willing to offer company-wide re-skilling, then you can also build a culture of cyber safety that ensures all the pressure isn't placed entirely on your new security recruit. While it is becoming more important for teams to hire the right security talent, every person in your organisation must have at least a basic understanding of safety best practices to reduce the risk of an attack.
5. Keep Salary in Mind
Finally, while today's top talent is attracted to a lot more than just the promise of good remuneration, it's worth noting that many of the young and ambitious applicants you're hoping to attract to your team will be looking for a job that offers the promise of a comfortable, and secure lifestyle.
Because the cybersecurity sector is still relatively new, there isn't a great deal of information available to inform employers of what they should be paying their hires. This means that you may need to discuss your options with your recruitment agency before you jump into the interview.
Ultimately, in the technology space, it's important to make sure that your restrictions on salary don't prevent you from attracting the talent that you need to protect your company. An investment in the right skills is well-worth it in the long-run, as it ensures protection for your data, your development processes, and your reputation.
About Inspire People
Inspire People is a boutique IT recruiter specialising in Digital Transformation, Platforms and DevOps.
We work in partnership with a diverse range of employers who utilise technology to make a positive impact on society; from managed service providers to private, public sector and not-for-profit organisations, finding the fit between the employer and the employee.
If you would like to discuss your next career move or are looking to attract the right talent, speak with one of the Inspire People team on +44(0)20 7871 8550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org