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Cybersecurity jobs often take more than 3 months to fill, survey finds

Professionals say new hires often lack soft skills like critical thinking and communication
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Posted at 3:41 PM, Apr 04, 2022

Cybersecurity is one of the top concerns for the White House and American businesses.

But there are not enough trained experts for all the open jobs out there.

Sixty-three percent of cybersecurity professionals said there are open positions at their workplace.

Almost two-thirds said it takes at least three months to fill the open jobs, according to ISACA's State of Cybersecurity 2022 report, published in late March.

"The need continues to go up," said Jonathan Brandt, director of professional practices and innovation for ISACA. "The industry continues to evolve. There are a lot of different needs. What concerns me is that positions may not actually be appropriate size and scope."

Brandt, one of the authors on the State of Cybersecurity report, said there simply aren't enough entry-level jobs available.

"You get stuck in this place where, 'We want a four-year degree,' or 'We want 3,000 certifications,'" Brandt said. "We have to change our thinking."

Hiring managers face a second problem: New employees don't always have the knowledge they need.

While the survey points out skills gaps in several areas, the largest gap is in so-called "soft skills," a category that includes things like writing and problem-solving.

"The thing that stood out most was how low they rated honesty and empathy," Brandt said.

The people who took the survey consistently ranked communication and critical thinking as the most important soft skills.

Other things, like honesty and empathy, were valued less often.

"We're a protection-oriented occupation," Brandt said. "You have to have empathy with the business leaders and what it is they're trying to accomplish."

Brandt said there are opportunities within the cybersecurity field for people with less traditional backgrounds.

He is hopeful that organizations will reevaluate their hiring practices, and consider more candidates without a four-year degree.

There are signs that companies are already moving in that direction.

In 2021, 58 percent of organizations required a four-year degree for entry-level work.

This year, the number has dropped to 52 percent.