It’s understandable that experiencing a huge historical event like an epidemic has led individuals to reflect on their life and work. Many people are quitting for a variety of reasons – including the desire to move into a more fulfilling role or career.  So many, in fact, that the phenomenon has been termed the “Great Resignation.”

A key point here is that resignation rates are highest among mid-career professionals, according to a study by Visier, with people between the ages of 30 and 45 creating a 20% spike in resignations. That’s a sizeable group of people with a lot of experience who want to try something new.

For the field of cybersecurity, the Great Resignation actually presents a great opportunity as cybersecurity continues to face a significant skills gap leading to many unfilled roles. Cyber leaders should use the fact that so many individuals are seeking new jobs as impetus to recruit more people into this field that urgently needs them and to further help current employees advance in their skill sets.

Opportunity out of chaos

Threats such as ransomware are rising (up more than 1,100% in the previous year), and a dearth of competent employees further adds to the security hazards businesses face.

A significant talent shortage persists within cybersecurity. The (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study for 2021found that the cybersecurity industry is running a deficit of 2.72 million workers globally. Despite the industry’s efforts to diversify the workforce through outreach programs, women only comprise 27% of the STEM workforce. Women account for nearly 51% of the population in the U.S., but they remain an under-recognized resource. And it just so happens that women leave their employment at a much higher rate than men. In September 2021, about 300,000 women quit their jobs.

There is a big opportunity to recruit and attract the influx of job seekers, including women, to help fill the critical cybersecurity job openings across many organizations.

Upskilling is key

Additionally, to bridge the current talent gap, data suggests that employment in the cybersecurity field now needs to grow by approximately 41% in the U.S. and 89% worldwide. To fulfill this ongoing need, businesses must devote more resources to training cybersecurity staff so that they may broaden their skill sets and progress beyond their current responsibilities. Companies also need to recruit non-traditional personnel who can transition into a cybersecurity career. Both alternatives necessitate ongoing education and professional development.

Evaluating employees’ current skill levels is the first step in creating a training and development program. Then, organizations must consider their skills needs based on not only their current technologies but future tools as well. These two steps will provide a picture of current skills gaps and help direct companies to the types of training their staff needs.

Fortinet’s Training Institute offers training and certification programs and is an example of available upskilling options. The Institute offers education pathways that enable individuals to transition into a career in cybersecurity and help bridge the skills gap. It also enables organizations to upskill employees to meet their changing needs.

For instance, if an employee has experience with firewall security but wants to focus on cloud security, it’s helpful to know what other skills he or she will need for this new position. Similarly, if a company needs to fill a specific role and wants to upskill one of its employees, it’s useful to know precisely what training is required to help this employee gain skills and advance their career.

This methodology makes it easier to match Fortinet training and certifications to work roles defined by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), a division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Each of the education pathways explains how Fortinet certifications can help students gain experience and seniority in specific professional roles, plan for career progression or transition into cybersecurity.

A stronger security posture

The millions of people across the U.S. who have quit their jobs – even in the midst of an economic downturn – have spoken loud and clear. For a variety of reasons, they are looking for something new. The cybersecurity field stands ready to welcome them as part of the solution to the significant cyber skills gap. Organizations looking to fill this gap must not only robustly recruit these available individuals but upskill existing employees who demonstrate aptitude and desire to advance and grow their skill sets. In addition to integrated security solutions, training and certification programs will help ensure that organizations have the workforce they need to close security vulnerabilities and keep their networks safe.

Learn more about the Fortinet free cybersecurity training initiative and Fortinet’s Training Institute, including the NSE Certification programAcademic Partner program, and Education Outreach program which includes a focus on Veterans.