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Build (Don’t Buy): Solving the Cybersecurity Talent Shortage

A Skills-Based Approach

August 7, 2020 by Emsi Burning Glass

Emsi has released new research that reveals a major cybersecurity talent shortage in the US. Right now, the nation has less than half the cybersecurity it needs to keep up with ever-increasing demand. For every 100 active job postings, there are a mere 48 qualified candidates.

Emsi CINO Rob Sentz and data & analytics SVP Yustina Saleh discussed this supply and demand issue during a webinar on August 4th. “The key problem that you should note here is that many of these 180K people [shown in red in the graph above] are already gainfully employed,” said Sentz. “And so if you want to move one of those 180k people into one of the key roles that you have for cybersecurity, you have to pay them more money. And that’s a hard strategy.”

Fortunately, buying talent from other companies isn’t your only option.

Want to learn about cybersecurity in your city? Contact us today!

So how can we solve the cybersecurity talent shortage?

The answer: build, don’t buy. Companies in need of cybersecurity talent should re-skill existing employees, rather than recruit outside their walls for talent that is already extremely hard to get.

In our research, we offer suggestions regarding the following:

  1. Which candidates are ideal for reskilling?
  2. Which skills should companies and regional training and workforce partners develop?

Sentz and Saleh dove into these questions, saying that some of the best candidates for cyber positions can be found in IT or Finance. If a company has a surplus of employees in these two areas and is simultaneously looking to hire for cybersecurity, hiring internally from IT or Finance will produce the biggest bang for their buck. When it comes to skills, our research shows that the existing skill clusters in every city are unique, meaning that re-skilling employees will depend on the skill gaps already present in the region and the specific needs of the company itself.

As the US addresses the cybersecurity talent shortage, everyone has a role to play

  • Employers should invest time and money in helping employees acquire cybersecurity microcredentials.
  • Colleges, universities, and other training organizations can focus on the key skills needed at the local or regional level and help upskill the many working adults who might be looking for new employment, plus a generation of new grads hungry for good opportunity in a disrupted labor market.
  • Regions and cities have a vital role in addressing the crisis as they broker between local businesses and higher education to fill the talent gap. Such data will help them address specific regional needs.

Watch the cybersecurity webinar here.

If you are interested in exploring data about your city’s cybersecurity skill shape, contact Rob Sentz at [email protected].

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