The cybersecurity space has exploded in recent years with our daily dependence on computers, the internet, wireless networks, and smart devices. This growing reliance on technology has exposed us to security threats that didn’t exist before.
The digital revolution has generated an abundance of professions and companies dedicated to cybersecurity, which in turn, have uncovered their own vulnerabilities and HR challenges. Let’s take a look at five of these challenges.
1. Hiring talent
Cybersecurity is a hot field, with a vast number of job opportunities. However, the demand for cybersecurity professionals far outstrips supply. A study by Burning Glass revealed that the number of cybersecurity job postings has grown by 94% in just six years, and cybersecurity jobs now account for 13% of all information technology jobs.
It’s hard to find skilled cybersecurity professionals, and it takes HR longer to fill these positions—20% longer than other IT jobs. This lack of qualified talent translates into increased competition among employers, who have to pay more for these skills—around 16% more.
HR needs to ensure that they offer prospective candidates the full package when looking to hire and retain employees, including a competitive salary, generous benefits, and advancement opportunities.
2. Learning and development
With breaches and viruses increasing in sophistication, the cybersecurity industry is evolving at a rapid pace. Cybersecurity has become a priority not only for professionals working within the industry but for all modern companies. To ensure their safety and security, cybersecurity training must become part of the standard business practice in all companies, and employees should learn how to protect themselves.
Companies in the cybersecurity space tend to have very stringent security practices; therefore, HR needs to ensure that continuous training is offered to employees to keep up to date with the latest threats. Security training is essential for HR managers, IT professionals, and front-line managers because they all have access to sensitive employee data. They must understand the importance of keeping this data secure.
3. Diversity and inclusion in the workplace
According to a survey conducted by the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) and KPMG, while cybersecurity companies represent minority groups in line with the national average, a problem exists in the lack of an inclusive culture where people feel comfortable at work.
The survey found that just over 20% of respondents said they didn’t feel that they could be themselves in the cybersecurity industry. Just over 40% of black cybersecurity employees said they had experienced discrimination in the past year due to their ethnicity, and 27% of Asian or British Asian employees said the same. In addition, almost 25% of women in the sector said that they had experienced some type of gender-based discrimination at work during the past year.
Diversity and inclusion go hand in hand. If people don’t feel included, then they will eventually leave. 9% of the survey’s respondents said that they were considering leaving their employer, or the cybersecurity industry in general, due to issues relating to diversity and inclusion.
HR managers in cybersecurity companies need to take these statistics to heart and address these concerns by ensuring that they first hire a diverse workforce and build an inclusive and welcoming culture where employees feel comfortable.
4. The gender pay gap
According to findings from (ISC)2 , women in the cybersecurity industry are paid significantly less than men—an average of 21% less globally. In an industry with such an acute shortage of skilled professionals, this gender pay gap and the need for parity is particularly urgent.
HR managers in cybersecurity companies need to prioritize pay equity for women, conduct an audit of their current employees’ pay and benefits, and perform corrective actions based on their findings to ensure that women employees are compensated in line with their male counterparts.
Providing equal pay for women in cybersecurity will encourage more women to fill these roles and create a more diverse workforce. This diversity will ultimately benefit the industry by bringing more diverse ideas to the table regarding preventing attacks and creating secure environments.
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5. Implementing a secure, modern HRIS
Cybersecurity companies need to put their people at the front and center. A modern HRIS helps HR leaders manage their processes, people and incorporates all aspects of human resource management, including culture, engagement, core HR processes, compensation management, and performance management. An HRIS can provide HR managers with insightful data on their employees, such as metrics on gender, ethnicity, age, and pay gaps. It can also integrate with payroll and learning and development platforms so that all HR-related tasks and programs are centralized in a single system.
An HRIS also contains highly sensitive information about employees, such as payroll information, social security numbers, bank account details, and even medical information. Therefore, HR must choose a secure HRIS and ensure that the highest security levels are maintained throughout the implementation phase.
The cybersecurity industry is booming but suffers from a lack of qualified professionals to fill its open positions. To ensure the company’s success, HR managers should attract talent with competitive compensation packages, ensure pay parity between men and women, and build an HR strategy that prioritizes hiring diverse teams. Efforts should also be made to create an inclusive and welcoming culture at the workplace to nurture the employee experience and cultivate growth and development within the field.