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The global cybersecurity skills gap increased to 26.2% compared to 2021, according to the (ISC)2 2022 Cybersecurity Workforce Study.  A survey by the World Economic Forum found that 59% of businesses would find it difficult to respond to a cybersecurity incident due to the shortage of skills.

With a widening skills gap, it’s safe to ponder – Could diversity and inclusion among the workforce and organizations be the solution to closing the cybersecurity talent and skills gap? -Perhaps.

How so? For starters, I have two suggestions.

First, IT and Cybersecurity Recruiters could start educating themselves, dig more deeply, and recognize they are part of the problem. Surely, recruiters are aware of the underlying causes as to why employers and hiring managers are dismissing diverse candidates, or prematurely eliminating them from interviews and job offers. Yet, they say nothing, they do nothing.

How about taking initiative despite the push back? Give the applicant a chance to sell their abilities, potential, and passion. Candidates cannot do this unless the recruiter chooses to pick up the phone, return the email, review the resume. So pick up the phone and call the candidate, regardless of their keyword matches, name, college degree, or less than satisfactory resume.

Recruiters have the power to make or break opportunities for candidates. I challenge cybersecurity recruiters to step up and fight for the diverse, underrepresented candidate who may not have the experience, training, educational background, or easy-to-pronounce name that may fit into your ideal for the cybersecurity job vacancy your client is hiring for. Be brave and tenacious enough to submit the candidate anyway. When you receive a rejection from the hiring manager asking, “Why?” or rejecting the candidate. Then use your negotiating power to fight for them.

Secondly, make cybersecurity training and education more easily attainable and accessible for new hires, minority women and men, and veterans. Many diverse and underrepresented candidates, such as women and veterans are not yet aware of the abundance of cybersecurity training resources readily available for them.

Employers can partner with Bolt Resources and affiliates such as ISSA, Global Cybersecurity Alliance, and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to receive free to low cost cybersecurity training and education resources, making it more easily accessible to minority women and men, which will ultimately contribute to securing your organization’s critical infrastructure.

As Bolt Resources Cybersecurity Talent Advisors our mission is to enable, encourage, and empower the next generation of cybersecurity leaders, while being an Advocate, Friend, and Coach to the cybersecurity workforce, GENZers, Women, Minority Women and Men, Veterans, men and women over 50, Neurodivergent personalities, the Mental Health and DEI community.

As the Founder of Bolt Resources, I pledge to be a difference maker, to serve as a trusted Advocate to the DE&I community, to use my influence to inspire change in organizations and leadership, and pave the way for all current or aspiring cybersecurity professionals to be granted equal opportunity for success in their cyber career ambitions.

If you are seeking a trusted cybersecurity staffing agency to support your cybersecurity hiring needs, or to partner alongside you in your cyber career journey, contact Bolt Resources today. We look forward to meeting you!

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