Combating Staff and Skills Shortages

Demand for a competent cyber security labor force is exceeding the supply of workers worldwide. Current research estimates that, by 2019, one to two million cyber security positions will be unfilled. Governments and financial institutions, the biggest industry spenders on cyber security, will particularly feel the staffing strain, as the qualified employee deficit is projected to continue well into 2020.       

In an era when the sophistication of malicious attacks is surpassing the effectiveness of cyber defenses, hiring organizations and the educational system can make improvements to address the growing global demand for capable cyber security graduates.

How businesses can address staff shortages

  1. Foster a more tech-friendly, global workforce. Cyber threats have no geographical limitations.
  2. Train technologically competent employees in preventing network threats. Select qualified candidates from the tech labor pool and educate them on specific industry challenges.
  3. Invest in technologies to mitigate network threats. In a recent study, 9 out of 10 respondents said cyber security technology could help compensate for lack of skilled staff.

How higher learning institutions can address skills shortages

  1. Focus more on hands-on experience within cyber security and IT majors, in order to effectively prepare students for the workforce.
  2. Require students to obtain professional certifications, along with traditional degrees in computer science, to create better-suited applicants for entry-level roles that demand practical technology skills.
  3. Admit international students to study in the United States with extended visas. Foreign nationals account for the vast majority of advanced degrees in cyber security.

In order to combat the labor force deficit, both academic and professional renovations are essential. If universities integrate practical technical skills into their curricula, graduates entering the workforce will be more appealing to hiring organizations. And, if businesses focus simultaneously on enhancing their cyber security tool sets and training current employees in IT best practices, the need for new staff will decrease exponentially.

To determine if current technologies, processes, and staffing are adequate to support business objectives, businesses should conduct regular IT risk assessments, which will highlight the gaps or weaknesses that place the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of systems and data at risk.