The rise of the Cyber skills shortage and the challenge this presents
It’s time to look at innovative ways of solving this global challenge.
The rise in demand for Cyber roles and skills is a global issue that is getting more acute
The critical importance of Cyber and subsequent demand for resources in this sector is a global challenge that can't be solved through traditional training solutions. Not so long ago, the word Cyber was synonymous with a very narrow group of skills, capabilities and people or was just lumped in with IT security. Entrance to this club was limited to those with significant experience, qualifications and arguably the resilience to stay in an industry that was unforgiving.
We’re living in an ever evolving world; one where data continues to become the new gold and geopolitical boundaries become blurred. As such, the need for a secure and diverse Cyber workforce is outsripping supply. This growth brings with it a breadth of roles and realisation that this is no longer a narrow and specialist field, but one that houses many roles with a multitude of requirements.
"The global cybersecurity workforce needs to grow 65% to effectively defend organizations’ critical assets." - (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study, 2021.
Traditional methods to address this growing demand have largely stemmed from filling the bottom end of the funnel with new entrants either at graduate level or through retraining. There is no doubt that this is still an extremely valuable and important part of a broader strategy, especially in relation to veteran capabilities. However, with a more diverse set of capabilities required to address far greater diversity in roles, then new and innovative strategies are required.
What constitutes the cyber human of the future?
With the diversity of roles and the breadth of capabilities required in this ecosystem, it will serve you well to understand your Human Cyber resources through the lens of their human skills, and not just the qualifications, skills and experience required.
It goes without saying that there are some critical roles in this sector where very specific technical requirements are not negotiable. However, if you focus on the thin wedge that is Cyber - you are missing the glaring fact that this is one small part of the much broader ecosystem in which there is increasing interaction and collaboration.
Cyber professionals integrate, communicate and work with other people, departments and entities. It’s time to change the narrative, moving away from outdated perceptions and job specifications that are unreasonable and no longer fit for purpose.
A truly diverse workforce should encompass a broad range of human capability and potential
Furthermore according to the World Economic Forum - more diverse teams are likely to drive innovation and economic growth across the board while reflecting the diversity of audiences we are trying to reach. WEF March 2022
In building a more diverse workforce, we immediately help to address the Cyber resources gap by opening a door that was previously closed to so many people. By doing so, we are really starting to change the narrative. After all, perception is key. The Cyber human of the future is a long way from the traditional labels of the past.
With the diversity of opportunities that now exist in this ecosystem, it is imperative that we have a diverse Cyber workforce. Broader roles require much broader capabilities and this allows us to tap into a much broader pool of potential and actual talent.
By adding human skills, natural talents or strengths to this quandary, the added benefit is drawing on the science that sits behind the data and gives us the ability to start to map transferable traits while also bolstering a significant gap. The double whammy here is that we start to make the opportunity to enter the Cyber workforce easier and also more attractive to a broader population who historically have not considered or been interested in this career avenue.
Retention is a critical part of the puzzle
Filling the bottom end of the funnel with new graduates and upskilled staff is one thing. But what about Cyber professionals who are already committed to this exciting and critical sector? If we don't consider retention of our talent as part of the broader strategy we are collectively doomed!
With so many statistics, companies and governments focussed on addressing the shortage, the world seems to have forgotten those who have already invested significant time and energy to be a part of the current Cyber footprint. We are not going to plug the gap if we don't ensure we invest in our current Cyber professionals. By changing the narrative, and daring to invest in their human skills and broader soft skills rather than continually focus on the accreditation hamster wheel, imagine the positive impact of the entire sector!
This journey is far from complete, however we firmly believe that nothing will change if you change nothing. This is a global issue, gaining momentum daily. It’s going to take innovative solutions to turn it around.
For more information about how Humanico can help you understand and maxmise your Cyber workforce, get in touch with us below.
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