It's still a seller's market in cybersecurity, where recruiters are aggressively contacting prospects and the majority of workers are keeping their options open for a better job offer.
A new global survey of security professionals by (ISC)2 shows that while just 14% are actively on the job hunt, 84% say they would consider a new position this year. Some 46% say recruiters contact them weekly, and around 18% get daily calls even though they are not actively seeking new employment. Nearly 40% of those who are on the hunt get multiple pings from recruiters daily.
"It's a great place to be if you're an experienced cybersecurity pro. You can write your own ticket these days," says Wes Simpson, COO at (ISC)2. The talent gap in the industry remains unfilled, and that makes security professionals even more valuable and in hot demand – especially those with five or more years' worth of experience, he says.
There will be some 1.8 million unfilled security positions worldwide by 2020, according to Frost & Sullivan.
Overall, one in five pros get a minimum of one recruiting call or email each day, the (ISC)2 survey found, and most of these workers have three- to 10 years' experience. C-level executives make up nearly one-fourth of those who get multiple recruiter contacts per day.
Meanwhile, salary was not the top-ranked requirement for taking a job. Some 68% say they want a position at an organization where their opinion is valued; 54% say their current jobs fit that bill. Some 62% say they want a job where they can protect people and their data; 58% say their current jobs provide that. Next in the rankings is working at a place with a "code of ethics" (59%), with 54% saying their organization satisfies that requirement.
Nearly 50% say they want the "best salary," and 39% say they are satisfied with their current pay. That doesn't mean salary is not a factor, the report says, since 55% of security pros with no job-hunting plans are happy with their salaries.
"Job seekers in cybersecurity are just so mission-oriented. They care about really fighting back, being the professional, and being able to help and protect an organization and their data. They just want to have a sense of ownership and belonging … and that they are being listened to and consulted," Simpson says.
Security pros also are discerning about job descriptions: some 52% say a vague and unclear job description indicates to them that the organization does not understand the industry. "Vague language and descriptions that don’t seem to accurately reflect the job are definite turnoffs," the report says.
Job position descriptions typically are written by the HR department, which often employs a template for the wording. "These job descriptions are written by the HR folks and not the hiring manager," says (ISC)2's Simpson. "The problem is a lot of great candidates probably never even get a chance because the job description is written so poorly."
There's also a lack of consistency among different companies' descriptions and names of various job titles in security, too, he says. "As a profession we can be more standardized around job descriptions or lexicon," he says.
A recent study by the Jane Bond Project report, commissioned by security talent recruiting firm CyberSN, found that organizations know their HR generalists are not equipped to recruit and hire cybersecurity talent, and that flawed salary data complicates their ability to issue the best job offers. Half of the organizations in the study had to up the compensation offers from the job description in order to finalize an offer to a candidate because the original salary offer used by HR was inadequate.
(ISC)2's report, which polled 250 cybersecurity professionals within the US and Canada, also asked security pros what they value in an employer. They say it's "very important" for them to work for companies that: invest in training and certification (88%); train their employees in security (75%); use clear and concise job descriptions (63%); and invest in the latest security technologies (50%). It's very or somewhat important that the company have clearly defined responsibilities among cybersecurity staff (100%); a large dedicated staff (88%), and a CISO on board (88%).
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