[Guest Post] How To Attract & Retain Cybersecurity Talent

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[Guest Post] How To Attract & Retain Cybersecurity Talent

October 17, 2019

With a higher risk of security breaches and data loss than ever before, companies and organizations are eager to hire a skilled and trained IT security team. However, the problem is that the supply of cybersecurity professionals doesn’t meet the demand. This means that companies are desperate to attract and retain cybersecurity talent. Here’s an in-depth look at the challenges of hiring cybersecurity professionals, and what you can do to recruit talent to your team.

Why Is Cybersecurity Recruitment So Competitive?

With the high expected salaries and job satisfaction of working in cybersecurity, it may be confusing to understand why recruitment is so competitive. The biggest reason for this is the significant talent shortage, which caused a gap in the cybersecurity workforce and increased the demand for these skilled professionals.

Across the country, the national average ratio is slightly more than two job listings for every one cybersecurity professional. At this rate, with the ever-increasing rise in cyber threats, the demand for cyber talent will never be met.

Some of the jobs in cybersecurity that are highest in demand included Cloud Security Engineers and Architects, Application Security Engineers and Architects, DevSecOps Professionals and Security Automation Engineers. With the move to the cloud, not many businesses are looking for traditional security engineers anymore. As the market evolves, we will see more demand for Software Security Engineers and Cyber Security Data Scientists. Moreover, because of the shortage, people are getting strong counteroffers. If a candidate has a specialized skill set, it can take months to find someone good, and you may not find someone who meets the criteria you are looking for.

Top Reasons For The Talent Shortage

Companies and organizations are failing to recruit and retain cybersecurity talent. Here are the main reasons behind this shortage, why employers are failing to hold on to their cybersecurity professionals and, in turn, how this is affecting recruiters.


As cybercriminals and hackers become more sophisticated in their techniques for breaking into computer networks, cyber professionals need to become more skilled and efficient. It can be difficult for companies to keep up with the complexity of cybercrime and stay up to date with security requirements.

The shortage of cybersecurity talent means that companies are at high risk for a security breach. One way to mitigate this risk when cybersecurity professionals are in short supply is to outsource some security tasks to a security service provider with the appropriate skills and knowledge.

Lack of Interest From School and College-Aged Students

Although younger students and millennials have grown up with computers being second nature to them, most of them are unaware of what cybersecurity is all about. However, not being exposed to classes or information about cybersecurity means they’ve had little or no opportunity to understand what a career in cybersecurity entails.

With so few students attending colleges, universities, and IT institutions with the goal of a career in cybersecurity, there are even fewer grads to recruit. If more school and college-aged students are made aware of the rewards and opportunities in cybersecurity, they may be more likely to choose a career path within the field.

Not Enough Experienced Cyber-Professionals 

To meet the needs of cybersecurity, recruiters will use their expertise to find eligible talent right outside the cybersecurity market. This includes candidates with other tech experience or candidates who have the personality traits that would fit well in a cybersecurity team. This may mean developing apprenticeship programs to recruit new employees, train current employees and prepare them for jobs in cybersecurity.

Not Retaining Current Employees

Employers often have difficulty retaining their current cybersecurity employees due to burnout and stress from the job. Companies need to come up with ways to alleviate stress so that cyber professionals don’t leave their jobs for ones that are less stressful or offer better benefits. It’s important to give employees a channel to voice their concerns and equally important to listen and act on those concerns. Coming up with health and wellness problems in the workplace is one way to combat burnout.

Still, other cybersecurity employees leave when they feel that their employer is no longer investing in their job. Companies can retain these employees by offering a career development budget or similar initiatives to cover training courses and the opportunity to gain certifications.

Most Sought-After Assets In An Offer and Retention Tips

It’s imperative to come up with ways to encourage candidates to accept job offers. The following tactics can make cyber professionals more likely to consider an offer as well as increase employee retention:

  • Accurate job descriptions: Provide recruits with accurate descriptions for each cybersecurity job as well as the assets of working for your company.
  • Connect with educational institutions: Get students and interns for your full-time cybersecurity team to mentor, this can lead to a future pool of possible recruits.
  • Lighten the load: Outsource specialized security concerns or extra work to an experienced IT security service provider.
  • Work-life balance: Emphasize your health and wellness initiative programs. Offer a variety of schedule options like remote work, great time off and flexible hours.
  • Invest in their future:  Highlight your career development initiatives with investment in employee training and incentives for certification. The cyber community at the moment is highly centered around keeping up to date with the latest trends and learnings.

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Check out this infographic by Varonis on how to solve the shortage of cybersecurity skills for your company.

About the Author

Kiana is a content creator with a passion for writing and all things creative. She loves exploring a diverse collection of topics including business, tech, wellness, travel and everything in between! When she’s not writing you can find her traveling, going for runs along the San Diego coastline and performing music.

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