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The Challenges of Hiring a Cyber Security Specialist

7 min

Hiring a cyber security specialist has been a significant challenge global businesses have b...

Hiring a cyber security specialist has been a significant challenge global businesses have been battling over the last few years. As the world continues to transition into tech, the chances of cybercrime continue to increase. Therefore, the need for cyber security experts to tackle these threats has never been more in demand.  

In the US alone, over 750,000 cyber security jobs remained unfilled as of September 2022, as reported by Cyberseek. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, an estimated global shortfall of 3.5 million openings is expected within the cyber security sector in 2025. 

Although open cyber security jobs are abundant on the global market, why is hiring a cyber security specialist so challenging? In this article, we delve into this question, providing the key challenges of hiring a cyber security expert and how your business can overcome the cyber security talent shortage. 

Why cyber security is important

Since the 1960s, cybercrime has been a significant threat to businesses, governing bodies and the wider population. The answer to why cyber security is important may seem obvious, to protect data and personal information from being stolen or damaged. Still, the statistics of cyber attacks do emphasise the importance of cyber security and why hiring cyber security talent within the market is vital.

Here are some alarming statistics surrounding cyber security:

  • Every 39 seconds, a cyber attack occurs somewhere in the world
  • 30,000 websites are hacked every day
  • In the first half of 2022, 236 million ransomware attacks were reported
  • The third quarter of 2022 saw 15 million data records exposed globally
  • 64% of global companies have experienced a cyber attack (2021 - 2022)

Today, the lack of cyber security professionals is affecting the security levels of various companies, increasing the potential of cyber threats. Cybercriminals can take vast amounts of data from companies using simple tactics that could be avoided with efficient processes put in place by a cyber security specialist. 

For example, the automotive industry, where vehicles are now often software-based and feature a high level of connectivity, is a particularly open target for cybercriminal attacks. Unfortunately, protecting against these is an operational effort that many companies find difficult or impossible to manage due to a lack of experts.

Additionally, it is not only the companies at risk. For example, if hackers use interfaces to manipulate a networked car and can thus remotely control brakes and steering, this is a serious safety problem that affects the general public. Here, the urgent need for skilled personnel in the cyber security sector of the automotive industry becomes obvious.

Another problem against the backdrop of the cyber security talent shortage is that in the era of remote working, corporate data can be accessed more easily via file-sharing services and cloud services - exposing companies to even more risks. The pandemic-related shutdown economy has therefore seen massive growth in cybercrime.

Without cyber security specialists, the threat of cyber attacks would be more significant than it already is - so the importance of cyber security is unquestionable. However, finding the talent to prevent cybercrime is easier said than done, and many challenges exist, as we will reveal in the section below.

The challenges of hiring a cyber security expert

In today’s tech-driven landscape, there are many reasons why finding a cyber security specialist within the niche market is so difficult. Here are three of the crucial challenges of hiring a cyber security expert.

1. A shortage of cyber security skills 

The skills gap within the market can explain the cyber security talent shortage in the field of advanced engineering and technology. In a 2021 survey by ISSA, 95% of 489 cyber security experts believed the skills shortage had seen no signs of improvement over the last few years, with 44% saying it’s worsened. 

Another reason there is an apparent skills gap within the cyber security sector is that existing talent is not updating their skill sets. This may be because their employer hasn’t offered them training or they struggle to find the time for additional training with their busy schedule. 

Part of the cyber security skills shortage isn’t to do with a lack of skills. The issue can also be pinned on the employer setting their expectations for talent too high. Many businesses seek to find the most experienced professionals and list requirements on job specifications that detract candidates from applying as they assume the role is beyond their capabilities - when in reality, they could be perfect for the position. Some of the candidates who do apply are not considered because they lack a specific qualification or required skills when again, they could be a valuable asset to the employer. 

2. The retention issue surrounding Cyber security experts

In 2020, the ISACA’s study on the cyber security market revealed that 66% of employers admitted struggling to retain their cyber security experts. Employers who completed the survey said the challenge to retain talent within the sector was down to them being unable to provide progression and development opportunities and compete with the salaries and pay packages of other competitors.  

Additionally, a concerning statistic from a recent survey by Tellix revealed that over one-third of the cyber security workforce was planning to leave the industry and take on a new career. This struggle to retain cyber security specialists results from many within the sector feeling the pressures of the talent shortage within the industry. Further, many professionals are feeling the strain of burnout due to the increased workload and lack of talent.

3. The supply and demand issue for cyber security talent 

2022 saw the cyber security skills gap increase by 26% compared to 2021, a shortage of 3.4 million cyber security experts. The increased skills gap can be explained by a supply and demand issue, with more businesses realising the importance of cyber security in this tech-driven era.

As technology has become a prominent feature in almost all organisations, the technology has also become more complex and therefore combating cyber-attacks has become more challenging. Therefore, businesses require larger teams of cyber security experts and individuals with greater skill sets to help overcome the increasing risks of cybercrime. However, currently, there isn’t enough talent to go around and ultimately, the industry has been struck by a supply and demand issue.

How to overcome the cyber security talent shortage

Now you’re aware of the challenges of hiring a cyber security expert, what are the solutions for companies struggling to find top professionals during this cyber security talent shortage? Here are three ways you can overcome the cyber security talent shortage.

1. Upskill your existing cyber security experts

One great way to overcome the challenges of hiring a cyber security specialist is to focus on your existing employees. To ensure your cyber security experts stay updated with the relevant skills needed to progress their careers and your business, invest in training and development programmes to upskill or reskill your current workforce.

You could also offer upskilling support to your existing talent with the transferable skills who have the desire to transition into a cyber security role. Additionally, you should consider providing these training solutions to graduates, who may not necessarily have the experience but have the potential to be a key contributors to your cyber security team. Additionally, providing upskilling opportunities is an excellent way of retaining talent, as your employees will appreciate the investment you have put into their development.

2. Hire a freelance cyber security specialist

Contractors or freelance cyber security experts are a great and efficient solution for companies looking to counteract the shortage of skilled workers. Freelancers bring specialised skills through years of experience in various projects, are cost-effective solutions and are also candidates who can be reached at the shortest notice. 

Additionally, freelancers allow your business to trial run a top talent. After working with you for a period of time, you may build a working relationship with the contractor, making them a reliable resource you can call upon as and when you need additional support. Moreover, the contractor may be open to working with you on a more long-term and potentially permanent basis. 

3. Partner with a cyber security recruitment agency

Often businesses know the type of talent they want to hire, from the skill sets they require to the character they need. However, many organisations struggle to source or have the time to scope the market to find cyber security specialists who can progress their business. 

Cyber security recruitment agencies can significantly reduce the stress, time and costs of finding top talent. While your recruitment partner sources the people you need, you and your existing staff can continue to work on what you do best. 

Amoria Bond specialises in cyber security recruitment. 

At Amoria Bond, we are constantly searching the market for experienced cyber security experts to ensure we have the talent available as and when you need them. We are not just here to find and place professionals. Our specialist cyber security recruitment service offers much more, from market and competitor analysis to optimising the entire recruitment process. 

Even in skills short, high demand and niche areas like cyber security, Amoria Bond is the recruitment agency you can trust to find the cyber security specialist to progress your business. So, if you need top talent to progress your business within the advanced engineering sector, we can help you find a cyber security specialist. Contact our IT Infrastructure Recruitment team today to learn more about our specialist cyber security recruitment services.