Cyber Security: Why is there a Global Talent Shortage?

Cyber Security: Why is there a Global Talent Shortage?

For a long time, companies have focused their efforts on perimeter defending, or the more general compliance and regulatory-driven security.

However, in the last 18 months alone there has been an eye-watering surge in ‘advanced threat’ or the ‘predictive analytics’ side of the market; leading to top-level sales, sales engineering and technical candidates being pulled from pillar to post to work for the “next best thing” in advanced threat/threat intelligence and malware detection solutions.

There are truly some very intelligent platforms out there at the moment and it is an area of cyber security which large enterprises and governments are really yet to understand – hence the market (and its future potential) is huge!

No more is this relevant with the recent acquisition of the advanced threat intelligence platform specialists iSIGHT Partners by FireEye, the automated threat forensic specialists. What makes this acquisition interesting is FireEye recognised the importance of adding the intelligence-led element to their portfolio to understand and analyse the global threat ecosystem.

These moves in the market prove the importance of the more predictive process; security has now become more than simply defending the walls.

Unprecedented Growth

I have been a technology head-hunter for 11 years this year and have seen a lot of change not only in the recruitment market as a whole but also in different types of technology as it advances at breakneck speed. About 2 years ago, I decided to specialise in the cybersecurity space and since that date, I have never seen an area of technology explode and grow so quickly.

With rapid growth such as this, inevitably comes a skills shortage and immense competition for the globes top talent in both technical and sales-based positions. Security professionals in all disciplines have simply been unable to keep up with the new technologies as they develop. I am increasingly finding that there are just not enough talented top sales and technical candidates in this space and I am taking my head-hunting skills to new levels of ‘deep diving’ to get access to them!

Having recently carried out research into Executive leaders in the tech industry, it is clear that around 80% of CEOs put recruitment and retention of staff as the key driver for their business in 2016/17. None more so in the cyber security sector. Employers in this industry need to realise that even though they have an excellent SaaS offering for enterprises, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to attract the best talent in such a competitive market.

Hiring in Cyber Security

Salaries are going up rapidly and stock options are becoming more prominent. One potential candidate I spoke to just yesterday told me he had at least 8 – 10 attempted contacts from recruiters (internal and external) every day just looking for his cybersecurity skills.

The need for this top talent and the shortage of it has undoubtedly made my job more challenging,  but my advice to business leaders is, if you want the best, you need to a) have an impeccable and truly compelling solution and be ready to sell it and b) make your remuneration package as attractive as you can and continually incentivise your team be it sales or technology to ensure you keep them!

Fortunately, over the years, I have built up an excellent network and have honed my head-hunting skills to find the best talent in the industry.  LinkedIn is a fantastic tool for us all to find each other but to keep up with the fast pace of the cyber security market, and technology industry in general, the boundaries of headhunting have shifted meaning that alongside becoming more of a marketer, you also have to become more intelligent in searching for the best talent out there – What are their interests? Where do they “hang out”?

Finlay James conducted a study in September 2018 that identified a 93% increase year on year in people searching for cybersecurity recruitment.