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Philip Jones

Cyber Security Jobs in Crypto: Skill Shortage

5 minutes

Tesla, AXA insurance, Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon, Visa, PayPal, Coca-Cola and Expedia. All...

By Philip Jones

Regional Director, Europe

Tesla, AXA insurance, Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon, Visa, PayPal, Coca-Cola and Expedia. All household names, whose products are used daily by people across the globe. One thing they all have in common is that they have joined the list of businesses now accepting payment in crypto currencies. With more companies accepting digital currencies, the chances of cyber security breaches have increased as well. Whilst digital currencies have been around since 2009, their mainstream use has only become more prominent in the last few years. However, what hasn’t increased in the same trajectory is the number of skilled cyber security professionals specialising in crypto currencies, thus leading to a current skill shortage which is very beneficial to candidates with the right skill set. I recently spoke with several clients and candidates across Europe to understand how this can affect recruitment.

What organisations are looking for

The foundations of an organisation’s cryptocurrency are based on having recruited highly skilled developers who can create a robust, secure platform. Without this foundation, the hiring for a cyber security expert is like filling a bucket with small holes, it can be patched up, but the fundamentals are wrong. Once a robust platform has been developed, many firms typically seek cyber security, malware analysis, firewalls, hacking techniques and vulnerability assessments. In other words, a broad range over skills gained over several years.

Aside from seeking a technically skilled cyber security professionals, organisations are looking for three main attributes:

  • Being able to work independently
  • Ensuring that data is being protected to the highest standard
  • The ability to hack their own systems in preparation for attacks
  • What are highly skilled candidates demanding?

With organisations seeking the above skills when recruiting cyber security specialists, the limited number of available candidates who meet this criteria are therefore in high demand and can request more when moving to a new job. The three main requests from these types of candidates are:

  • Mid-higher salary. This can range from £80,000 to £100,000
  • Possibility of equity. Candidates want more than just an annual salary
  • Work for an established company, one that employs experienced developers first and foremost

So how is this affecting recruitment?

Balanced expectations

From understanding the requirements of both hiring organisations and candidates, it’s quite clear that a balance needs to struck and this is where a specialist recruitment agency like First Point Group can be of great assistance to both parties. A negotiation needs to be had to obtain a balance between finding a team fit, a technical fit and realistic remuneration. Maybe both sides need to give a bit of leeway or revise their expectations. Again, a recruitment agency can be very useful at this stage.

Pricing yourself out of the market

Due to the responsibilities expected by organisations for cyber security jobs, a number of candidates are increasing their salary expectations a bit too high which can lead to pricing themselves out of the market. Therefore, my advice to candidates is to be realistic with your salary expectations, maybe negotiate a higher ‘end of year’ bonus or a salary review in 12 months’ time.

Strenuous interview processes

The interviews can be long and have multiple processes. This is sometimes due to the client wanting to ensure the candidate is a perfect match. Unfortunately, a lengthy process can sometimes mean a candidate withdraws their application, so my advice to hiring managers is to shorten your interview process where possible.

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