Cyber security job placements from 2017 to 2018 have increased 110 per cent according to Michael Page Singapore, as industry demand continues to heighten.
An estimated 3,400 cyber security professionals are expected to be in demand by 2020 to fill roles in threat and vulnerability assessment, security management, and incident and crisis management in Singapore.
The majority of these cyber security job openings are found in large multinational corporations, across the banking, finance, healthcare, and IT sectors.
“The key is in companies acting fast to hire or replace talent within cyber security as professionals often get multiple offers due to the talent crunch in our demanding market,” said Shinjika Shukla, associate director of the technology practice at Michael Page.
“Specialist recruitment firms play an essential role in bridging the needs of potential employees and prospective employers.
"With extensive industry knowledge to provide insights and advice, cyber security roles will be appropriately filled, and Singapore will be on track in defending as well as detecting cyber threats before they strike."
Career prospects within security management, threat and vulnerability management continues to rise, without an adequate pool of well-trained talent to fill those roles.
However, the challenge for smaller organisations is in talent development, rather than hiring experienced professionals that typically incur higher costs.
As such, many of these smaller organisations could look towards fresh technology graduates who can learn from the ground up.
The case of being overqualified for smaller roles and under-qualified for specialised roles, along with other factors such as salary expectations, is a problem faced by many organisations when they are on the search for a new hire, according to recruitment firm, Michael Page.
“Numerous online portals, such as GitHub, that allow aspiring cyber security professionals to showcase their own work – this approach can supplement years of professional experience, demonstrating a candidate’s abilities at handling code and working within a particular domain,” said Chen Kin Siong, director at Insider Security.
Furthermore, an increasing number of mid-career professionals are beginning to recognise the opportunities in the cyber security space, with many making a career switch, leveraging the various schemes and incentives afforded in Singapore to up-skill and re-skill to take on such roles.
In particular, IT professionals in other domains are recognised to have transferable skill-sets that could be applied to cyber security roles, such as the ability to manage and communicate with both internal and external stakeholders, turning data into insights, and being able to make sound recommendations based on critical thinking processes to solve problems.
Aside from having skills to handle technical issues and cyber threats, having a balance between soft skills and technical proficiencies will also help cyber security professionals better manage stakeholders and convey accurate messages on the extent of cyber threats in an organisation, especially in industries where IT is not a core service, such as banking and finance, or healthcare.
“Organisations are not struggling to identify talent with the right technical skills, they are struggling to find talent with the right technical skills as well as attitude and aptitude,” said Shukla.
“Simple reason, cyber criminals are approaching the industry with humanised skill-set hence it is pertinent to have the defence equipped the same way."
Furthermore, while there is an increasing requirement for cyber security professionals, there is also an increasing trend of those professionals turning down opportunities for non-monetary reasons.
“Over the last seven years the reason for turning down a job offer would primarily be monetary,” said Shukla. “However, that is changing.”
Shukla alluded to the fact that more cyber security professionals are now turning down jobs offers if they feel that the decision makers or the key stakeholders do not regard cyber security as a key business enabling or a business partnering function.
“Most cyber security professionals believe that cyber security is not a back office function,” said Shukla. “They believe, rightfully so, that it is a business partnering function and is very important for business continuity.
“They are looking for companies that understand the importance of cyber security for smooth operations and most importantly they are looking to take up employment offers with companies that they are able to build rapport with key decision makers.
"If the organisation and the job applicant are not on the same level in terms of understanding why cyber security is important, they would rather turn down that offer."