According to the latest research, the U.S. cybersecurity talent shortage is getting worse.

ESG Global found that 53% of IT professionals reported a ‘problematic’ shortage of cybersecurity skills at their organisation. Worryingly, this has been the case for the last four years of carrying out the same survey.

The Center for Cyber Safety and Education has similarly alarming statistics. The number of vacant cybersecurity jobs is predicted to rise to 1.8 million by 2022, a 20% rise compared to 2015.

And all the while the cybersecurity threat is growing. According to Accenture, the U.S. has seen a 29% increase in the average annual cost of cybercrime – growing from $21.2 million in 2017 to $27.3 million in 2018. And Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that cybercrime will cost the world at least $6 trillion a year by 2021.

With too many threats and concerns to count, including AI-powered cyber attacks, election security and ransomware attacks on the public sector – it’s clear there’s a big mountain to climb.

How can the talent shortage be tackled?

Experts suggest a number of state-led ideas for filling the rising number of cybersecurity vacancies. These include federal leadership, with a national program of funding for scholarships and training among other initiatives. It’s also been suggested that public and private sectors, along with large technology and cybersecurity leaders such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and McAfee, should work more closely together.

But what can businesses do to ensure they have the talent they need to tackle cybersecurity challenges? Here are some crucial considerations to bear in mind:

  • Work with a recruitment a specialist. You don’t have the time to headhunt, so why not work with an expert who does? Choose a specialist in digital and technology recruitment such as Expand Executive Search, where you’ll benefit from access to a global talent network and a dedicated team working with laser focus on your recruitment goals.


  • Relocation could be the solution. If the talent you need isn’t available in your area, broaden your search. Offer a tempting relocation package and you could unlock access to a much wider market.


  • Develop a talent pipeline. You may not be facing a cybersecurity skills crisis right now, but you should take action if you sense one looming. Develop a detailed hiring strategy now and lay the foundations for your future hiring plans, so you’ll never be caught out. And if the talent you need is hard to find, consider growing your own. Bring people in at junior levels, through internal development, graduate schemes and apprenticeships.


  • Open up your hiring criteria. The best candidate for your vacancy isn’t necessarily the one with the longest list of formal qualifications. Practical coding tests and in-person interviews could be more effective ways to uncover exciting talent. If you’re serious about investing in and developing digital security skills within your organisation, your hiring policies may need to be more innovative.


Facing a cybersecurity talent shortage of your own? Get in touch with Expand Executive Search. We’re specialists in digital, communications and technology, and have access to a network of 60,000+ global professionals. Work with us and you’ll get a bespoke strategy to meet your recruitment goals.