HR Leader logo
Stay connected.   Subscribe  to our newsletter

Tips to attract top cyber security talent in a competitive market

By Divya Ghatak | |6 minute read
Tips To Attract Top Cybersecurity Talent In A Competitive Market

The ever-evolving cyber threat landscape makes robust security a cornerstone for businesses of all sizes. Recruiting and retaining skilled cyber security professionals is paramount for protecting sensitive data, operations, and reputation, writes Divya Ghatak.

The global cyber security workforce shortage shows no signs of abating, with millions of unfilled positions worldwide. AustCyber has advised that Australia alone will need 17,000 more cyber security workers by 2026. This fierce competition necessitates a strategic approach to attracting and developing top talent.

Early investment is key


One way that organisations can cultivate promising talent is by engaging with students through internships. These placements provide valuable hands-on experience in network security, incident response, and vulnerability assessment.

Entry-level roles like security analyst or SOC analyst expose interns to real-world challenges while allowing companies to assess potential and cultural fit. Internship programs illustrate how organisations can invest in nurturing talent. Internships create a pipeline of future hires, fostering loyalty and a strong understanding of company culture.

Expanding career opportunities

Meanwhile, universities are increasingly offering cyber security degrees and specialised programs. Companies can leverage these programs by establishing partnerships with universities to offer scholarships, guest lectureships, and dedicated career fairs focused on cyber security.

Participating in capture-the-flag (CTF) competitions hosted by universities can be another effective way to identify and engage with talented students. Companies can sponsor CTF events or even host their own, creating a platform for students to showcase their skills and network with industry professionals.

Equipping the workforce

In a competitive market, offering educational sponsorship programs can be a game-changer. Prestigious certifications like CISSP and CISM enhance knowledge and skills, making a company a more attractive employer.

Consider sponsoring employees for massive open online courses (MOOCs) on platforms like Coursera. These flexible and affordable options empower continuous learning. Businesses can also develop in-house training programs tailored to their specific needs and threat landscape.

Recognise transferable skills

While a cyber security degree is advantageous, it shouldn’t be the sole hiring criterion. Talented professionals can come from diverse backgrounds like computer science, cloud computing, or network administration. Skills honed in non-technical fields, such as critical thinking and clear communication, are highly valued for roles like risk assessment and security awareness training. Soft skills like leadership and teamwork are crucial for cyber security management positions.

Ultimately, a passion for cyber security and a willingness to learn are more significant than a specific degree.

Showcasing a value proposition

An organisation needs to highlight what makes it stand out from the crowd. Cyber security firms can emphasise opportunities to work on cutting-edge technologies and participate in threat research.

Working in-house within cyber security provides a broader range of responsibilities, including safeguarding digital assets, ensuring regulatory compliance, and educating employees.

Large enterprises offer specialisation, structured career paths, and access to advanced technology. This can be attractive to individuals seeking stability and well-defined roles.

Conversely, small companies often require employees to wear multiple hats, fostering faster career progression and a less hierarchical environment. This can appeal to those who thrive in dynamic settings and enjoy a wider range of responsibilities.

By promoting its strengths, an organisation can attract cyber talent that aligns with its specific needs.

Cultivating a thriving team

The cyber security talent market is going to remain fiercely competitive. By implementing a proactive strategy that includes internships, educational support, and networking opportunities, organisations can significantly enhance their ability to attract top talent.

However, retaining existing talent is equally important. Some of the tactics that can help with this include:

  • Mentorship programs: Pair experienced professionals with new hires to provide guidance and support. Mentors can help new team members navigate the complexities of cyber security and foster a sense of belonging.
  • Career path development: Clearly defined career paths provide employees with a roadmap for advancement and motivate them to acquire new skills.
  • Work/life balance and flexibility: Offering flexible work arrangements and competitive benefits packages demonstrates a commitment to employee well-being and helps to reduce burnout.
  • Promote innovation: Encourage a culture of collaboration and innovation. This can be achieved through internal hackathons, participation in industry events, and fostering a safe space for knowledge sharing.

The future of cyber security talent acquisition

The cyber security landscape will continue to evolve, and the skills required for success will undoubtedly change with it.

An additional strategy to consider is fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion. Actively recruit from underrepresented groups in cyber security. By building a diverse team, organisations gain access to a wider range of perspectives and experiences, leading to more effective problem solving.

Investing in automation can also help. It can free up valuable time for cyber security professionals to focus on more strategic tasks.

A multi-pronged approach

By adopting a multi-pronged approach, organisations can position themselves as leading employers in the competitive cyber security talent market. Investing in the growth and development of a cyber security team not only strengthens an organisation’s security posture but also fosters a culture of innovation and resilience.

As the cyber security threat landscape continues to evolve, organisations that prioritise attracting, developing, and retaining top talent will be best equipped to navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Divya Ghatak is the chief people officer at SentinelOne.



The practice of actively seeking, locating, and employing people for a certain position or career in a corporation is known as recruitment.