Too many employers are asking for too much when seeking to fill entry-level cybersecurity positions, then lamenting that there’s a shortage of talent applying for the job.

“There’s a misunderstanding, I think, out the door of what the [requirements] really should be for junior, midlevel and senior roles, and what those expectations are,” said Neal Dennis, a threat intelligence specialist, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

Citing a report by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC2), the Journal said there is a need for 3.1 million cybersecurity professionals to meet security requirements. But companies leave positions unfilled insisting they can’t find people to fill them.

Researchers tell the Journal “outlandish job requirements are the problem,” not than a lack of workers.

“We’ve created this self-licking ice-cream cone of misery that continues to drive the narrative forward that we don’t have the ability to solve this problem, or we don’t have enough humans,” said Chase Cunningham, principal analyst at research firm Forrester Inc.

The Journal article notes that job postings for entry-level security roles frequently request two to four years’ experience and advanced knowledge, which can be evidenced by certifications such as the Certified Information Security Systems Professional.

But Clar Rosso, chief executive of ISC2, which issues the certification, points out in the article that it takes 5 years of experience before earning a CISSP. “Possibly the human resources recruiter doesn’t have experience in the area and they’re not able to say, wait, that doesn’t even make sense,” she told the Journal.

The solution, says the Journal, is for companies to rework their expectations and hire tech professionals with non-traditional backgrounds, then invest in training. “Apprenticeship schemes and firm career development paths for new cybersecurity workers would help,” says the Journal.

“Once that shift occurs,” Dennis said, referring to on-the-job training and certification prep programs, “I think that the skill shortage starts to answer itself. And then we’ll finally realize that there’s not really a people shortage, there’s just a knowledge shortage on the people who are available.”

Photo by Patrick Amoy on Unsplash


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Interest Growing for Remote IT Jobs

The COVID business slowdown is having a profound impact on the hiring environment for IT professionals.

Employers are finding it easier to hire the kind of tech talent that just a year ago wouldn’t even open their emails.

Job board Indeed says that since the beginning of the COVID shutdown, interest in tech jobs – as measured by the number of clicks each received — is on the rise. At the same time, Indeed says job listings for such IT positions as data scientist and software development are down 30% to as much as 42% since 2019.

The lingering economic impact of the pandemic is giving many businesses second thoughts about hiring permanent workers. Except for their most immediate tech needs, employers in the hard hit travel, retail and hospitality sectors are hesitant about moving forward with planned projects.

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This is putting employers “back in the driver’s seat,” says Indeed economist AnnElizabeth Konkel.

While the hiring dynamics have changed, it would be wrong to think of it as a buyer’s market for tech. The industry unemployment rate is 4.6%, well below the national 8.4%.

Many of those contributing to the increase in job clicks Indeed is recording are tech professionals who no longer feel bound to a geographic area. Google Trends shows a steady increase in searches for “remote IT jobs.”

As we pointed out last week large numbers of remote working tech professionals are thinking of moving out of the nation’s expensive tech centers. The obligatory COVID shutdown has shown them — and employers — they don’t need to commute to an office in order to do their work.

When Twitter and Facebook announced permanent work at home policies a few months ago, job searches for the two companies spiked.

Employers are also recognizing the benefits of remote work. In August, Pinterest paid $90 million to cancel the lease of office space citing the company’s shift to work from home. An ever increasing number of advertised IT jobs are either remote or optionally so.

This is creating opportunities for employers willing to hire remote workers. Geography will no longer be a barrier to hiring. And with the larger pool of IT professionals, employers will be able to more successfully compete for talent.

Says Tim Herbert, EVP for research and market intelligence at CompTIA, the tech industry association, “We will continue to see employers evaluate their recruiting and hiring practices.”

Photo by Gevorg Avetisyan on Unsplash