Attracting & Retaining Cyber Professionals



It’s a statistic that is monopolizing cyber headlines and leaving employers pre-emptively sweating – 3.5 million cyber security jobs will remain unfilled by 2021. In a time when the need for cyber professionals has never seen such significance, the coming skills shortage is raising some serious concerns.

Hiring for long-term prospects is an immediate requirement but to find the right candidate the three factors below matter.

1. On-The-Job Training

Roles requiring a breadth and depth of experience are not going to be filled easily. Companies need to shift their expectations. A focus on retaining younger employees and offering on-the-job training should be the focus rather than expecting employees to step into these roles with complete knowledge and experience, particularly with entry level and lower level positions.

The notion of finding the perfect, technically skilled candidate has left some employers dismissing transferable and soft skills, undervaluing their importance. Whilst technical skills can be taught, many soft skills fall back to an individual’s inherent nature. Skills such as problem-solving, communication and leadership abilities need to be valued with greater weight. Whilst hard skills cannot be entirely dismissed, they should not be the only consideration when filling specialised roles.

2. Look Beyond ‘Cyber’

By looking beyond just candidates with previous cyber experience or traditional cyber qualifications, employers are able to access an array of unique perspectives, skills and knowledge. Looking to these candidates brings two benefits.

Firstly, many individuals are functioning within a cyber role without actually knowing it or having it specified on their CV. Given the almost uncatchable pace of cyber, many candidates are exposed to aspects of cyber within previous roles.

Secondly, diverse mindsets foster diverse perspectives. When problems arise, a diverse team is more capable of thoroughly tackling the issue. By having a team with experience beyond the traditional scope of cyber, this diversity is captured.

3. Continuous Learning

The pace of the industry pushes continual learning as a priority. Prospective employees want to see a willingness to invest in ongoing upskilling and see an appreciation to this continual learning.  Cyber is the fastest growing industry so undoubtedly continuous learning is priority to ensure a strong cyber department that stay ahead of cyber crime.

With 70 percent of organisations failing to provide adequate training and education, according to cyber security professionals, highlighting a willingness to invest in continuous learning is a major enticer alongside salary, bonus and benefits.

Finding these unique talents can begin by creating an inclusive company culture. Looking beyond traditional platforms can uncover these diverse talents. Conferences are a great place to meet young individuals whilst the added bonus of industry networking.

With consideration of these three ideas, companies will be better equipped to handle the growing skills shortage and hire long-term talent.


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