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Today, we’re diving deep into the crisis that’s affecting every organization—large or small, public or private—the cybersecurity talent gap. The numbers are staggering: 315,000 more cybersecurity workers are needed to close current supply gaps, and a steady demand to hire cyber professionals since May 2023, with roughly 45,000 job postings each month. But numbers only tell part of the story. Let’s get real and talk about the challenges, misconceptions, and the actionable steps we can take to turn the tide.
A Two-Sided Coin
According to the National Initiative of Cybersecurity Education (NICE), the key challenges for cybersecurity professionals include a lack of clear career pathways and the misconception that one needs to be highly technical or heavily credentialed to succeed.
Hiring managers are grappling with outdated hiring practices, focusing too much on credentials and not enough on skills and aptitude. The result? A supply-demand ratio of 72 qualified cybersecurity workers for every 100 jobs available.
Time for a Reality Check
The belief that cybersecurity roles require a bachelor’s degree or a stack of certifications is outdated. It’s time to shift our perspective. Cybersecurity is not just about technology; it’s about people. We need to humanize our workforce, not commoditize them.
NICE Initiatives & Strategic Plan
NICE is taking steps to modernize the cybersecurity workforce through new initiatives that focus on skills over credentials. This aligns perfectly with Bolt Resources’ mission to help both employers and candidates navigate the complex cybersecurity landscape.
How Can Business and Cybersecurity Leaders Take Action?
- Prioritize Cyber Risk: Understand that without people, there’s no way to manage cyber risk effectively.
- Shift the Narrative: As leaders, we have the power to change the conversation around cybersecurity talent.
- Diversify the Talent Pool: Reach out to underrepresented communities and educational institutions.
- Humanize Your Workforce: Ask questions. Understand what your employees value beyond a paycheck.
- Modernize Hiring Practices: Focus on skills, aptitude, and passion. Use resources like the NICE Workforce Framework to write clear cyber job descriptions.
- Stop the Credential Obsession: Look past the resume. Challenge your own biases and be open to hiring diverse talent.
Your Next Steps
For employers, review the NICE initiatives as a guide to building a new, effective cyber hiring strategy. Establish a clear line of communication across all departments within your organization to ensure management and key decision makers are on the same page in modernizing your talent management system and processes. Use resources like CyberSeek’s interactive career pathway tool to understand the roles you’re hiring for. If you need specialized help, consider partnering with firms like Bolt Resources that focus exclusively on cybersecurity recruitment and workforce development.
The time for action is now. As Rodney Petersen, Director of NICE, puts it, “We challenge employers from all sectors to promote career opportunities in cybersecurity to individuals of all ages and from diverse backgrounds.”
Let’s rise to that challenge. Together, we can close the cybersecurity talent gap and create a safer, more secure digital world for everyone.
Jessie Bolton, Founder & CEO, Bolt Resources