Security Staff Acquisition & Development

A strong year ahead for recruiting cyber professionals

WorldRemit and dozens of other fintechs are powering economic activity in the UK as we come out of the pandemic. Today’s columnist, Ed Carr of BeecherMadden, says with the fintechs and law firms leading the way coupled with concerns over high-profile hacks like SolarWinds, hiring for cyber professionals will remain strong for the rest of 2021.

Cybersecurity recruitment in 2021 has never been more exciting. If we go back to the start of the pandemic, it was well-documented that organizations went into “survival mode” when the pandemic started to hit. Thousands of live positions were put on hold and there were some cases of candidates having had offers retracted by certain companies.

The chaos was clear. There were frightened clients protecting costs wherever they could, and hiring was often the first cut made. Frightened candidates hunkered down and became nervous to make any career moves during such an uncertain time. We saw some cyber specialists furloughed, some made redundant, there were big cuts in penetration testing hiring, and many consultancy companies paused hiring altogether for large swaths of 2020. We also saw the new challenges of having to onboard remotely, the new delays this caused for start dates, the cancellation of bonuses, the voluntary pay cuts and the stress and anxiety all of this created.

Organizations also had to deal with the cyber issues the chaos created and the impact all these trends had on a company’s culture, teamwork, teambuilding and collaborative setups. On the positive side, some amazing companies stepped up and treated people incredibly well during this time. There were clients that gave team members additional days off for free. They also allowed for more flexible work hours and huge advances in what companies now do for employee mental health. Companies also gave some of the best perks packages ever, such as paying for home technology work equipment, free takeaways for employees and their families, extended healthcare packages, and virtual wine-tasting events, escape rooms, yoga classes, and painting classes.

Heading into 2021 we have so many reasons to be grateful and positive. Today, there are more job openings than ever and there’s been a diversification of our client portfolio – we are now hiring across more industries than ever before as previously dormant markets begin to hire in cyber and build the needed defenses.

Many companies are now catching up for lost time in 2020. The threats our industry face have never been greater. The market has been rocked by endless ransomware attacks and the aftermath of the SolarWinds and Microsoft Exchange hacks have people concerned.  

At our agency, we’ve seen a surge in hiring for financial services clients and law firms as well, as several fast-growing fintech organizations. Business continuity and resilience has seen a huge bounce back so far this year with Q1 registering vacancy numbers dwarfing anything else we have seen in the last 18 months. Security architecture hiring has come back and many of the global consultancies are now   hiring at pre-pandemic numbers.

The positive news in the UK of lockdowns lifting and the success of the vaccine rollout has restored candidate confidence. We have had more candidate interaction in January 2021 than we did in January 2020 before the pandemic. The events of the last year have shown the market that there’s always a far better offering out there – better work-life balance, more competitive compensation packages, more exciting projects, better benefits packages, better certification funding and better colleagues. Pay has increased in cyber. We are very excited by what 2021 can offer and the advances and changes we’ll see our market make again.

Ed Carr, director, cybersecurity recruitment, BeecherMadden

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