The Cyber Talent Gap
Cybersecurity Talent Shortage: Expected for 2023
As technology continues to advance and play a larger role in our daily lives, the importance of cyber security for businesses, organizations and individuals alike cannot be overstated. From safeguarding customers' private information to defending government networks, staying ahead of cyber threats is critical in today’s world.
However, recent studies, unfortunately, indicate a serious shortage of cybersecurity talent. Despite the increasing threat of cyberattacks, the supply of trained professionals to defend against these threats is just not keeping pace with demand! This shortage is referred to as the "cybersecurity talent gap." In this article, we will take a comprehensive look at the current state of the cybersecurity industry, the impacts it could have on your business and what you can do to ensure cyber safety!
The Current State of Cybersecurity
With the increasing number of cyber-attacks and data breaches in the digital age, the need for a strong cybersecurity workforce is paramount. Cybersecurity professionals play a critical role in shielding against cyber threats, safeguarding private information and protecting the reputation of your business.
According to the University of Maryland, on average, cyber-attacks are launched by hackers every 39 seconds, with a total of 2, 244 attacks occurring every day! When a network or computer system falls victim to a cyberattack, the consequences can be devastating, with the potential loss of sensitive data, money, and the trust of customers.
However, despite the crucial role they play and the growing demand for their services, there is a shortage of qualified cybersecurity professionals to meet the need.
The Cybersecurity Talent Shortage
The current global cybersecurity workforce gap stands at a concerning 3.4 million people, which is an increase of over 26% from last year, according to the ISC2. This means that there are gaping holes in the industry’s vital positions that need to be filled. The reasons behind this shortage are extensive, but one of the most critical factors is the significant shortage of qualified applicants.
The demand for senior and mid-level cybersecurity positions often outpaces the number of applicants, and the pool of applicants can be very competitive. Many employers are struggling to find the right candidate with the proper training and skills for these vital positions. Apart from the deficit of applicants to fill these positions, the cybersecurity industry is also grappling with a skills gap. Many employers seek candidates with specific technical skills such as coding and network security but struggle to find enough applicants with the required qualifications.
This skills gap is further exacerbated by employers' reluctance to invest in training and development for their existing staff, which leads to a lack of qualified applicants. This can leave you or your business vulnerable to cyberattacks without a strong, qualified team on the defensive.
Why Traditional Hiring May Not Be Enough, Even During Tech Layoffs
Despite best efforts, the current traditional hiring process simply may not be equipped to find the best candidates for cybersecurity positions today. The ISC2 projects that in 2023, there will be over a million job openings in the cyber security industry, but fewer than 400,000 individuals with the necessary skills to fill these positions.
Despite this, the industry is expected to experience significant growth, with projections of 11% growth in 2023 and 20% growth in 2025. This is exactly why finding the right people for the job initially is so critical. Unfortunately, this is becoming increasingly difficult as traditional hiring processes rely heavily on job postings and inbound talent attraction, all competing for the same limited talent pool. As a result of sticking with pre-existing hiring methods during this talent shortage, employers are missing out on potential candidates who could be perfect fits for their jobs!
The Advantages of Working with a Search Firm for Cybersecurity Hiring
To overcome the talent shortage, business leaders need to be more innovative and should consider investing in the right tools and systems to support attracting the right cybersecurity talent. Attracting and acquiring skilled workers with high salaries, bonuses and company benefits is no longer sufficient in such a competitive field, where there are more job openings then there are candidates to fill those positions! As a result, talented individuals may be overlooked due to high requirements, as the ISC2 estimates that 62% of cybersecurity professionals in the U.S. have less than four years of experience. This highlights the need for search firms who have a deeper understanding of the current cybersecurity industry than most employers, so they can evaluate a candidate's skills more quickly and comprehensively. With the talent shortage, businesses should expect longer hiring delays and to have to reach out to people in their network, instead of just relying on job postings and advertisements.
Partnering with a specialized search firm can alleviate this risk, guaranteeing that your business doesn’t have to rely on only its own network, or the limited inflow of candidates coming through existing channels. This also means less wasted time sorting through applications, and attempting to gauge the skill of potential employees. These firms have knowledgeable recruiters and consultants who use advanced techniques, tools, and processes to identify qualified candidates, so you don’t have to. Choosing a firm specializing in cybersecurity also guarantees you access to an already established network of talent that has already been vetted and nurtured. These established relationships mean that trust has already been built with candidates, which is a huge advantage in getting the right talent in a competitive market.
Be sure to ask for client references when choosing a search firm to ensure they have the needed depth of experience in cybersecurity industry specifically. Specialized search firms can provide valuable insights into the job market and assist employers in reaching their cybersecurity hiring goals, which is becoming increasingly important as the talent gap continues to grow.
The Importance of Finding the Right Cybersecurity Talent in 2023
Acquiring the right cybersecurity talent is crucial for the success of businesses in 2023 and beyond, as the lack of skilled cyber-defence could be devastating if left unaddressed. Even small businesses are not immune to the impact of cyberattacks. In 2021, the Insurance Bureau of Canada reported that 41% of small businesses that had experienced a cyberattack suffered costs of at least $100,000, a significant increase from the 37% reported in 2019. Despite this, less than half of these businesses put measures in place to prevent and safeguard against future attacks! This only further underscores the importance of taking cybersecurity seriously, regardless of the size of the organization. To mitigate this risk, businesses should explore solutions such as partnering with specialized search firms to find the right professionals to protect their business.
By focusing on identifying and understanding the factors contributing to the cybersecurity talent shortage, we can take the necessary steps to prepare for the future. In addition, businesses should consider investing in training and development programs to keep their existing cybersecurity talent updated on the latest trends and technologies.
This will ensure that your businesses' existing talent and new hires alike are equipped to handle any challenges that the future may bring. By taking these steps, businesses can ensure that they have the right talent in place to protect their data, systems and earnings in the years to come.