Fighting the turnover tide

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At The Decipher Bureau, we've noticed a distinct uptick in cyber security turnover during the past 12 months, primarily driven by intense competition for talent.

Before COVID, demand for cyber security talent was already increasing faster than it could be supplied. Then when the international borders closed, supply became even tighter.

As the market regained a level of confidence in 2020, there was a surge of hiring activity that saw the majority of active Cyber Security job seekers securing jobs. We now find ourselves in a ‘passive’ market, meaning a large percentage of candidates aren’t actively looking for new jobs, but are ‘open’ to the right opportunities. This has resulted in fewer applications for job advertisements and an increase in poaching to find the right talent. You can be sure your best performers are being approached on a regular basis.

A level of attrition is inevitable, but we’ve seen many cases of clients expressing both frustration and surprise at the resignation of a key performer that they’ve then had to replace. Losing top talent is an expensive exercise; there’re recruitment costs, onboarding costs, the time it takes new hires to get up to speed and the impact losing talent has on team engagement. Which is why every business should be polishing up its retention strategy. Here are a couple of things we think leaders should be looking at:


  1. Continuous learning and development – cyber security is a fast-paced industry so your talent will need (and want to) commit some of their time to keeping their skills current. People often tell us they've reached a ceiling where they're at, so make sure you know their career aspirations and try to support their progress. Look for ways to give them bigger or more varied roles to keep them stimulated. Invest in their education.


  1. Culture – this is a whole nother blog, but at a high level:
    1. Have genuine company values. Lots of companies talk the talk but don't walk the walk. Those companies that live and breathe their company's values every day are much better at attracting and retaining top talent.
    2. Everyone wants to feel appreciated so make sure you recognise your talent's hard work. A sense of achievement is key to an employee’s level of satisfaction.
    3. Create an environment where people feel a sense of belonging and value as part of a team, or wider organisation. Have clear roles and progression opportunities for employees.
    4. Have a diverse workplace. Not only will this introduce new ideas, but it'll also promote creativity, improve problem solving and increase learning.


  1. Salary – make sure you're paying competitive market rates by being proactive in your salary reviews and offering good salary increments. Competitive market conditions have changed market rates over the past 12 months. Some companies are even offering above market rates to get the right talent. Don't wait for a raft of resignations to do your research. We can share our @cyber salary guide with you if you need more information.

Retention strategies aren't foolproof; but a solid retention strategy can go a long way, and as they say, “prevention is better than a cure”. In a market this competitive, it's inevitable you'll lose some talent, but you may also save some with the right awareness. If you do lose some top talent, remember The Decipher Bureau is here to help you navigate the competitive market to get you back up and running as quickly as possible.