If the federal government is going to keep up with nefarious actors and get serious about cybersecurity, it needs to start with hiring and the way they reach cybersecurity professionals, argue leaders within the national security hiring community.
According to Erin Weiss Kaya, Senior Strategist with the Innovation Group at Booz Allen Hamilton, the unemployment rate in the cybersecurity field is close to 0%. Cyber talent remains limited as the demand for cybersecurity workers is expected to grow by about 41% in the U.S. over the next few years.
October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month – a collaboration between government and industry to ensure everyone is practicing cyber hygiene. ClearanceJobs and Kaya unpacked the cyber hiring problems the federal government faces today and what changes agency, industry, and the recruiter can make to better reach cleared cybersecurity candidates.
For the last few decades, Kaya notes that the government at large, including the Department of Defense (DoD), has adopted a “post and wait” mentality when it comes to cyber hiring. But cybersecurity personnel, some of the most sought-after talent within the DoD and private industry, are receiving multiple calls daily from recruiters.
For the government to compete with the private sector and reach mission critical goals, they must move away from this post and wait mantra and continually source talent effectively but communicating the very intriguing (and rewarding) missions that they have to offer candidates – especially Generation Z who likes to be challenged technically while making a social impact.
Cyber hiring doesn’t have to be looked at like rocket science. The government just needs to reframe how they attract and keep talent. There are ways to combat the talent shortage, and if the government doesn’t adopt them, there will be even bigger cyber hiring problems in the next decade if we don’t rethink the cyber hiring process.
As cyber threats continue to increase, it’s more important than ever for government leaders to employ successful hiring, coaching or empowerment strategies to enhance cyber workforce productivity.
Erin Weiss Kaya is a strategist focused on cyber-organization with Booz Allen Hamilton and has worked with both the private and public sectors. She says that the government should focus less on technical skills or coding and more on people who are used to problem-solving in stressful environments. She is an expert in tackling the areas organizations have in struggling to recruit and retain cybersecurity professionals, and how security certifications potentially stymie cyber hiring.