Cybersecurity firms that resort to layoffs may regret it later

The media is flashing with headlines about layoffs and hiring freeze. Cybersecurity companies, already struggling to find talent, believe that firing people will only make things worse.

Amazon, Google, Apple, and Microsoft, among others, are bracing for a possible recession and hitting the brakes on hiring.

Layoffs are rippling through blockchain companies, embracing what they call crypto winter.

Cybersecurity startups are firing people. Cybereason, Lacework, Deep Instinct, OneTrust, and Automox have reportedly decided to cut their staff recently.

Given the cybersecurity skills shortage, some say companies will regret their decisions later.

Hiring spree

Cybersecurity company Trend Micro seems to be swimming upstream. Having been in business for over 33 years, it has witnessed multiple economic downturns, so the possible recession doesn’t scare them much.

The company has over 7000 employees and has listed over 500 vacant positions on its career page.

“There is definitely a technical skill shortage which is even more acute in cybersecurity. A great hire in cybersecurity is someone who is driven to solve problems. Whether in sales, marketing, product development, or security research, Trend looks for employees who are passionate and driven to help our customers solve their problems,” Kevin Simzer, Chief Operating Officer at Trend Micro, told Cybernews.

Given that the cybersecurity market is competitive, he believes that companies should consider all the pros and cons before letting people go.

“ In a market as competitive as this one, no specialist can be easily replaced. Job seekers – especially those with unique and highly sought-after skill sets – have a lot of leverage right now, and organizations that resort to layoffs for short-term financial concerns may regret it in the long-term,” he said.

Entry-level experienced employees wanted

Over three million cybersecurity professionals are wanted globally. But many employers are hesitant to hire entry-level talent, further perpetuating the skills gap issue.

Over the past several years, the skills shortage has become a broader problem for large and smaller companies, too, Tony Bryan, executive director at a non-profit organization committed to cultivating talent, CyberUp, reckons.

“We haven’t even scratched the surface of the total need for talent because thousands of jobs haven’t been created yet. These would include local governments, local school districts, solopreneurs, and the list goes on,”

Tony Bryan said.

Simzer values experience. However, focusing on a hardline requirement of five years on a job might lead to missing out on great additions to the teams.

“In hiring new talent, we focus on the applicant’s skills and long-term potential more than how many years they’ve been in the industry,” he said.

TrendMicro says it hires recent graduates and trains them in cybersecurity to tackle the skills shortage issue.

“Sucker’s bet”

Companies laying off cybersecurity professionals are making themselves an even larger target for cybercrime, Richard Gardner, CEO of Modulus, said.

"All of the data we have shows that cybersecurity has never been more important. We're, quite literally, watching a global cyberwar unfold before our very eyes. There are rogue nation-states developing cyber-terrorists as an economic and foreign policy tactic. Second, there are massive shortages of talented employees in this sector. And, third, those companies that are laying off in this area are making themselves an even larger target for cybercrime," Gardner said.

The World Economic Forum stressed that cybercriminals are taking advantage of reinvented digital space, with over 2,000 cyberattacks striking the internet daily.

"Trimming your cybersecurity workforce is a sucker's bet," Gardner added.

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