The changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have altered the dynamics of the U.S. workforce and workplace, significantly impacting the ways organizations think about acquiring and keeping talent. Almost every sector is feeling the impacts as companies scramble to secure the people who will keep them moving forward in a very competitive market.
The way organizations recruit cybersecurity professionals is changing in response to these trends. These changes are playing out in four different ways:
With the labor market so tight, there are fewer qualified candidates available to fill important cybersecurity roles. That is causing a significant challenge for companies that are very much in need of smart, experienced, and diverse cybersecurity specialists to protect their organizations. Some are replacing cybersecurity specialists who may have departed due to the ‘Great Resignation’ or those who were poached away by competitors. Others are seeking to fill new positions within the company as it expands.
In order to compete for top talent, companies and recruiters are accessing new and previously untapped networks. They are going deeper and wider than ever, often looking outside conventional sources and identifying potential candidates whose backgrounds may fall outside cybersecurity, but whose capacities lend themselves to success in cyber protection.
There is also an increased emphasis on recruiting from within, developing and eventually promoting promising young talent who might otherwise be lured to competing firms. Recruiters like Slone Partners Cybersecurity, with years of executive recruiting experience and existing relationships with prospective candidates, have a distinct advantage over those who don’t in that we are more likely to source and place candidates, both passive and active, quickly, before they disappear.
Even before the recent rise in inflation, salaries for coveted professionals were increasing. It’s simply a matter of supply and demand. Experienced and qualified candidates can often write their own ticket in this market, although we are beginning to see that recede a bit in recent months as the economy has cooled. However, the most coveted cybersecurity specialists and leaders with solid track records can still dictate the terms of a deal. They can also, in some cases, negotiate a more senior job title. The companies that need to secure top talent will often capitulate on those demands if they can be assured of landing a rock star who will help them protect their assets.
The concept of work in changing quickly. A recent study by Advanced Workplace Associates reveals that only three percent of employees want to work in the office full time, while 13-percent want to work remote full time. A majority prefer a hybrid work schedule where they work several days in the office and several days remote. Recent research from Ladders indicates that 18 percent of professional jobs are now remote. Many executives – in cybersecurity and beyond – are attracted to positions that offer remote work options and many ask about those opportunities in the interview process.
The number of high paying remote positions has quadrupled since the pandemic as companies and their leaders have realized the many benefits of hybrid work options. New technologies have helped overcome the obstacles that previously limited the effectiveness of remote work, and many organizations are lowering their overhead by scaling down on their physical infrastructure. Many of the cybersecurity specialists and leaders whom we help secure for amazing companies place a high regard on hybrid work opportunities along with salary and benefits when they negotiate a deal. It’s the new reality that isn’t going away.
Efforts to diversify the cybersecurity and other industries continue to gain momentum. Companies now expect diverse candidate pools when they are considering filling cybersecurity positions. They want to hire and promote more women and people of color to better reflect the markets they serve, but they also realize that will require a serious commitment of time, energy, and resources. Candidates we source will often inquire as to a company’s diverse workforce and its DEI policies. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly clear that Gen Zers are serious about diversity. They want to work at a place where the corporate culture is vibrant, healthy, and heterogenous.
The intense competition for top talent, therefore, is driving organizations to take DEI seriously and to pro-actively and consciously create a culture where people thrive and success breeds success. DEI is no longer just a line item in the HR budget. It’s something that is engrained throughout an organization from the bottom to the top. Many of the candidates we speak with consider workplace diversity to be essential, knowing that it will help drive their long-term growth.
At Slone Partners Cybersecurity, our executive recruitment specialists are focused on building rich, robust, and diverse candidate pools. As a company, we are sincere advocates of the power of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to make great companies even greater. That principle is built into our DNA. We know that companies with significantly more racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to outperform their competitors and that diverse teams see a 60 percent improvement in decision making. DEI is also good for the bottom line as research shows that inclusive companies are 1.7 times more innovative and 120 percent more likely to hit their financial goals.
Our newest service line, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategies by Slone Partners, is designed to help companies negotiate the DEI landscape, develop smart and effective diversity recruiting strategies, and foster healthy inclusive cultures that will serve as magnets for diverse workers and candidates over the longer term.