16th June 2022

Rising cyber security threats are creating a perfect storm of demand for talent

We exist in a connected world, one faced with the daily challenge of protecting itself and its information from attack. The need for greater InfoSec and Cyber Security in businesses has created a very active market, where attracting and appointing talent is ever-more difficult.

In this digital age, a world facilitated and run by technology, applications, and the information highway. We create roughly 2.5 quintillion (that’s 18 zeros) bytes of data a day. That continues to grow at an incredible rate as technology and the internet of things integrate ever more into our lives.

In our post-pandemic world, there has been a noticeable shift towards hybrid and remote working, giving businesses greater difficulties in their information security. Beyond the confines of the office walls, we see how connected and smart devices provide multiple points of opportunity for cyber-attack, increasing our threat surface, testing the effectiveness of our two-factor authentications, the strength of peoples “fool-proof” user-defined passwords and the rigour of our compliance to company IT security policies.

Data breaches are not an uncommon headline whether in multi-nationals, small businesses, academic institutions, or our vital public services. With concerns such as confidentiality, privacy and GDPR, all organisations are committed to ensuring safety and compliance in their information.  It doesn’t matter who you are or how important you might be, we are all targets.

Right now, the market is experiencing an overwhelming demand for cyber and information security expertise – those that can create, develop and maintain an organisations’ line of defence. For some firms, this is a well-trodden path, for others they are just beginning to venture into this. Leaders are beginning to recognise the importance of accessing strategic advice in this area and understand the commitments they need to make to keep their business secure and compliant.

The focus of this demand is around specialists who can challenge the executive leadership, create strategies, and take an organisation on a journey of change. The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is rapidly establishing its presence and value to the senior executive, alongside the Chief Information, Digital and Technical Officers.

The rapid rise of global geo-political challenges is far outpacing the extent of the talent pool. This industry is evolving so quickly and, as such, there is a limited pipeline of experts available in the marketplace. Demand for these Cyber and CISO professionals is extremely high across all markets, and this has led to a significant challenge around companies being able to identify and appoint appropriate resources. This supply and demand issue has created a perfect storm around inflated remuneration expectations and the ability to retain people given the number of opportunities circulating.

The resources available in this sector come largely in the form of third-party consultancies as well as independent interim consultants and permanent employees. The interim market is particularly strong, and individuals are able to maximise earning potential through the spike in demand for “set-up” type roles, stop-gap hires and project orientated assignments.

Inevitably the market will calm at some point. For now, organisations need to think laterally to how they recruit talent into this field. This is a discipline that can draw experts from very different industry verticals. In addition, many professionals in this space have operated across consultancy and client-side roles and are therefore highly adaptable. Companies that recognise this, are proving to be most successful in attracting the right talent. As the spike in security threats continues to drive demand, companies therefore need to be alive to the market and show flexibility to secure the right talent.

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