There is a major talent shortage in the security space

Posted by: Meagan Riggsbee


Currently, there is a significant shortage of talent to fill cybersecurity positions around the world. The demand for skilled security professionals is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry today, and it’s only expected to grow; experts predict a shortage of 2 million open and unfilled security positions by 2019. The security space is evolving quickly, and cybercriminals are becoming more organized and aggressive. Security companies must renew their skill set frequently to keep up with the continual threat. Companies are pursuing countless ways to close the talent gap for both short and long term.

When it comes to hiring in the security space, candidates would like to know what your company can offer them. Why are you superior in your space? What cool technology will they have unique access to? What are the opportunities for growth and development? Compensation and benefits will help entice prospects, but efforts should extend beyond money. In a field where advancement and innovation are key, companies need to put a solid attempt into advertising what makes them stand out. Cybersecurity professionals are in high demand and they are aware of this.

In an effort to help the talent shortage companies can provide learning advancements and team building activities. Young professionals are a top market for cybersecurity positions, with a little bit of structure; companies can help them grow into these new roles. According to Marc van Zadelhoff, IBM security general manager, “The essentials of a successful cybersecurity professional simply can’t be taught in a classroom: unbridled curiosity, passion for problem solving, strong ethics, and an understanding of risks. People with these traits can quickly pick up the technical skills through on-the-job training, industry certifications, community college courses, and modern vocational and skills education programs.” Hiring managers feel the need to hire people who already have all the right qualifications, but time is running out and there are plenty of candidates out there willing to learn the skills needed.

Another possible alternative is to consider hiring candidates in related technology professions. Alan Cohen, chief commercial officer at Illumio, says “Lots of smart IT people are moving into information security, as things become more software-led, application developers and operations people will filter into important security roles.” People with military or government experience are also a great option, Cohen explains, “There are both amazing skills and talent available in the government realm, not only do many of them have technical training in the right areas, they have the ability to master new skills and not shrink under pressure.” Diversity is also a factor, according to Alison DeNisco, from the TechRepublic, women make up just 11% of the global information security workforce and just 1% of its leadership.

This talent shortage is not going anywhere and will only continue to grow. Under these circumstances it is paramount that organizations advance considerably in their efforts to hire technology professionals to help fight against cybercriminals. Companies must act now, there’s no time like the present.