Top tips for retaining cyber security staff

In Information Security ByTeam Acumin / 5th December 2014

With an improvement in the job market and a shortage of cyber security professionals, there is an increasing demand amongst employers. Businesses are in competition for the best cyber security specialists, and attractive remuneration packages are being offered to the best. For those specialists with the most proven skills, their phone numbers and LinkedIn profiles become hot property, and the aggressive headhunting days of the ‘80s and ‘90s are in the here and now for them.

This clearly causes problems and challenges for companies when it comes to the recruitment and retention of cyber security staff. As well as offering competitive packages when taking on staff, they likewise need to consider how they best retain them. If a cyber security specialist feels they may be better recompensed elsewhere, they are likely to be tempted to look for a different position.

Reality dictates that some organizations will struggle to keep talented staff for their entire working lives, but it makes sense to retain them for as long as possible. The most obvious factor is salary, but yearly income is very rarely the only consideration. There are other elements of work that employers should make themselves aware of when they attempt to recruit and retain the best cyber security staff.

Salary increases

According to surveys, salary is the number one reason that employees leave – or begin the process of leaving – their position. Indeed, a third of those surveyed claimed pay was the main motivator in their decision to stay with, or leave, a company. Sometimes, increasing salary maybe a necessity to retain staff.

Despite this, businesses need to be cautious about reaching too far for an individual. In a situation where remuneration is the number one issue for a member of staff, then there is a strong possibility this will always be the case and, as such, they will always be looking to increase their salary. Even with a pay increase, these employees are likely to continue looking for better offers elsewhere.

Allow flexibility

Many HR professionals believe the ability to work flexibly has a strong appeal amongst employees. Certainly, there is evidence that recent graduates are looking for positions allowing them the time to enjoy the leisure activities in their life. In one employment study, nearly 30% of those surveyed considered flexible working to be their main motivator. Resultantly, there has been an increase in the number of companies offering flexible work conditions. Things like split shifts, bespoke hours, and telecommuting are on the rise.

Career development

Cyber security staff, like all employees, want the reassurance that they are making progress in their career. When a professional is gaining new skills and being kept up to date with their field, they feel as though they are developing. With this development, they may feel ready for a promoted position and the company they work for will be the first place they look for an opportunity. A perceived lack of upward movement might result in cyber security staff looking elsewhere for a promoted position.

Without considering these factors, businesses are potentially at risk of losing their best cyber security staff.