(ISC)² research finds employer hiring practices must evolve to overcome the cybersecurity workforce gap

June 16, 2022
Study reveals solutions to cybersecurity hiring challenges, including the benefits of hiring junior cybersecurity staff, and how long it takes and how much it costs for them to contribute independently

Alexandria, Va., June 16, 2022 – (ISC)² – the world’s largest nonprofit association of certified cybersecurity professionals – today published findings from its 2022 Cybersecurity Hiring Managers research that shed light on best practices for recruiting, hiring and onboarding entry- and junior-level cybersecurity practitioners. The research, reflecting the opinions of 1,250 cybersecurity hiring managers from the U.S., Canada, U.K. and India, highlights the need to build effective job descriptions, assign appropriate roles and responsibilities, along with the importance of non-technical skills and invest in career development. 

“With a global cybersecurity workforce gap of 2.7 million people, organizations must be creative with their cybersecurity hiring. But that doesn’t mean they have to take more hiring risks,” said Clar Rosso, CEO, (ISC)². “Successful hiring managers have learned recruiting entry- and junior-level staff and investing in their professional development results in more resilient, sustainable cybersecurity teams. Hiring junior staff is not a ‘leap of faith’ when hiring managers are equipped with the knowledge to identify candidates with the attributes and skills needed for a successful cybersecurity career. Our latest research helps guide the way.” 

Key report findings include:
  • 42% of participants said training costs less than $1,000 for entry-level hires (those with less than one year of experience) to handle assignments independently.
  • Nearly a third (30%) said it takes less than $1,000 in training costs for junior-level practitioners (one to three years of experience) to handle assignments independently.
  • 37% of participants estimate entry-level practitioners are considered “up to speed” after six months or less on the job. Half said it takes up to a year. 
  • 91% of hiring managers said they give entry- and junior-level cybersecurity team members career development time during work hours.
  • Certifications are considered the most effective method of talent development for entry- and junior-level practitioners (27%), followed by in-house training (20%), conferences (19%), external training (13%), and mentoring (11%).
  • 52% of participants work with recruitment organizations to find entry- and junior-level staff. This approach is followed by looking to certification organizations (46%); colleges and universities (46%); using standard job postings (45%); apprenticeships and internships (43%); along with leveraging government workforce programs (33%).
  • 18% of hiring managers are recruiting individuals from within their organization working in different job functions, such as help desk (29%), HR (29%), customer service (22%) and communications (20%).

Hiring managers also revealed their top five tasks for entry-level cybersecurity staff:

  • Alert and Event Monitoring 
  • Documenting Processes and Procedures 
  • Using Scripting Languages 
  • Incident Response 
  • Developing and Producing Reports 

When asked how entry- and junior-level staffers help their organization, participants said they bring new perspectives, ideas, creativity, critical skills in new technologies, enthusiasm and reinvigorating energy. One participant said, “They’re often well versed on the newest innovations, even more so than some of our established senior contributors, while lacking skills to support their curiosity, and it creates excellent synergy.”

To learn more, download the 2022 Cybersecurity Hiring Managers Guide and register for the webinar How to Hire and Develop Entry- and Junior-Level Cybersecurity Practitioners on June 23 for a roundtable discussion of (ISC)2 members sharing their experiences and best practices for hiring entry- and junior-level practitioners. 

About the (ISC)² Cybersecurity Hiring Managers Guide

The results presented in this report are from a blind online survey conducted by (ISC)² in December 2021. The total respondent base included 1,250 cybersecurity hiring managers from the United States (500), Canada (150), United Kingdom (200), and India (400). The margin of error for the global descriptive statistics in this research is +/- 2.8% at a 95% confidence level. 

About (ISC)² (ISC)² is an international nonprofit membership association focused on inspiring a safe and secure cyber world. Best known for the acclaimed Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP®) certification, (ISC)² offers a portfolio of credentials that are part of a holistic, pragmatic approach to security. Our membership, more than 168,000 strong, is made up of certified cyber, information, software and infrastructure security professionals who are making a difference and helping to advance the industry. Our vision is supported by our commitment to educate and reach the general public through our charitable foundation – The Center for Cyber Safety and Education™. For more information on (ISC)², visit www.isc2.org, follow us on Twitter or connect with us on Facebook and LinkedIn.