Looking closer to home: Why developing your current employees is key to closing the skills gap in Cyber Security

Looking closer to home: Why developing your current employees is key to closing the skills gap in Cyber Security Image 1
Looking closer to home: Why developing your current employees is key to closing the skills gap in Cyber Security Image 2

We’ve talked about it quite a bit - now is a great time to be a cyber security specialist. Demand is high and skills are short, making it a fiercely competitive market for top talent.

Great if you’re a candidate, but for those trying to recruit it makes for a difficult scenario. How do you meet your need for cyber security roles and functions in a timely manner, especially when engaging outside consultants isn't always a feasible or preferred option?

In this article we delve into the benefits that forward thinking organisations are starting to adopt - looking internally at the way teams are built and managed, and up / cross-skilling their current employees to close the skills gap.

Creating access to Cyber Security Skills

Deciding to start upskilling your current workforce isn’t a quick fix. Many organisations may be hesitant, particularly if they feel their teams are stretched with work already, or that it feels like too big a change management process. The strategic direction will require buy-in and support from senior management, down to those who will be directly impacted in their role (though, given the critical nature of cyber security to organisations, it’s probably one of easier areas to get change approved).

Partnering with specialised training organisations (both in cyber security knowledge, and experience in up / cross skilling programs) will be key, coupled with mentoring and opportunity to learn directly from and with others in situ. This, of course, requires significant investment in money and resources, however may still outweigh the time, money and risk in trying to continually recruit externally in the current market.

For smaller organisations who may not have the budget to roll-out a whole program of work, it will be a case of nurturing and supporting professional development opportunities for individual team members (both in time and financially).

Looking beyond previous experience

A critical success factor in offering cyber security up-skilling and cross-skilling is having team members who are interested and willing to take these opportunities. And it may not always be from those with a strict technical background, or who have years of experience in an area that would make for a natural switch (though this is obviously great too!).

Organisations who really want to make inroads in developing cyber capabilities will be those who look beyond the hard tech skills - and more at the potential of the individual. As we noted in our 2022 Australia Cyber Security Salary Guide, building teams with different experience and perspectives gives organisations a more innovative approach to tackling cyber solutions. Similarly, budgets may not stretch to employing senior level specialists, so focusing on upskilling those with fewer years of experience and/or coming from alternative points of entry but with the right mindset and fit, will help solve the talent gap in a more financially feasible way.

Apart from developing skills to meet a need, a significant benefit for businesses who look at their wider talent pool for upskilling is the value perceived by those employees - who see their employer as someone who walks the talk in terms of professional development and recognises team member’s ability and contributions. This can then have the knock on effect of increasing staff retention and morale, helping promote the organisation (internally and externally) as a great place to work, and ultimately saving costs.

Rather than getting caught up in the battle for top cyber security talent, taking the opportunity to upskill and cross-skill internal employees might just be a win-win situation for all - organisations get to build their own cyber capability in-house and meet business requirements, whilst employees get the chance to develop a new career path on the job.

If you’d like any more information about recruiting or retaining top cyber security talent, or if you’re looking for your next cyber security role, reach out to the Decipher Bureau team. With offices across Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra - and an experienced team around the world, we’d love to help you out.

Speaking of recruiting top talent, Decipher Bureau is currently looking for consultants! If you're interested in having a chat about joining the team, and to find out why we’re a great place to work, please get in touch.

Find out more about current employment and hiring trends within the Australian cyber security industry - Download the 2022 Salary Guide here